A Miami-Dade daycare worker is facing a manslaughter charge after the young boy she was supposed to be watching drowned after he was left unattended, authorities said.
Zobeida Gonzalez, 63, was arrested Wednesday in the death of 3-year-old Jonathan Feliciano at the Mayling Brache Family Day Care Home, according to court documents released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.
Gonzalez, who is also facing a child neglect charge, said nothing to reporters as she was released from jail on $22,500 bond Thursday afternoon. But her lawyer had plenty to say.
"She's been devastated by this and will never be the same because she loved that boy,” attorney Scott Egleston said.
According to the documents, Feliciano was in the care of Gonzalez at the daycare center at 2955 Northwest 99th St. in Miami when he fell into the pool on Dec. 22.
Gonzalez is the mother of Mayling Brache, who owns the daycare with Nivaldo Brache. The boy had been attending the daycare since March.
When Miami-Dade Police responded to the day care, Gonzalez told them she had only left the boy alone for a minute or a minute and a half when he was found in the above-ground pool, authorities said.
But when police reviewed a neighbor's surveillance video, they discovered the boy had been left unattended in the pool area for at least 29 minutes and had been in the water for over 23 minutes, authorities said.
The arrest affidavit said that nobody was looking for Jonathan in the pool area while he drowned in the pool. Egleston said his client was searching desperately for the boy, however.
"During that period of time she was in fact looking all over for little Jonathan, she was searching all over the backyard, she had searched all over the driveway, in front of the house, she was frantic and panicked that she couldn't find Jonathan,” he said.
The gate at the top of the steps to the pool was inadequate, and there was no fence between the playground area where Feliciano was left and the pool, authorities said.
Making matters worse, authorities said the owners never applied for a permit to build the pool and had denied the existence of the pool in their insurance policy.
Additionally, the daycare was not licensed to operate on Sundays, when Feliciano died, and the owners had never told his parents that they weren't licensed for the weekend.
Egleston said that the Department of Children and Families “signed off on the security of that pool prior to this accident."
DCF said that statement is true, and that the agency did inspect the pool and its enclosure and certify it as safe. DCF said it is conducting its own investigation of the daycare center. That is separate from the criminal charges being pursued by prosecutors.