Mother Who Left Baby in Hot Car Pleads Guilty

Catalina Bruno pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and child neglect.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Catalina Bruno wept while she pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and child neglect in Miami-Dade court Wednesday. The mother was on trial for leaving her 11-month-old son in a hot car unattended, leading to his death. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo reports. (Published Wednesday, May 28, 2014)

    Catalina Bruno wept while she pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and child neglect in Miami-Dade court Wednesday.

    Bruno's 11-month-old son, Bryan Osceola, died last May when she left him in a hot car in the driveway, along with her purse and a can of beer. The baby's body temperature reached 109 degrees.

    Miami-Dade Police said Bruno had placed the boy in a rear car seat and driven to her home at 1071 Southwest 150th Place. Bruno exited the car, a Chevy Impala, and went inside but forgot the boy in the car, police said.

    After an undetermined amount of time, the boy's father, Amos Osceola, asked about his whereabouts, police said. Bruno remembered leaving the boy in the car seat but by the time they found him, he was unresponsive, police said.

    The boy was transferred to Kendall Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

    Bryan was just 15 days shy of his first birthday when he died.

    Just six months earlier Bruno had been charged with a DUI after falling asleep behind the wheel of her parked car. Bryan was by her side then too.

    Bruno's attorney said the mother was coping with postpartum depression, and now she has to deal with her child's death.

    "She has to live with the fact that her child is gone," attorney Lonnie Richardson said.

    Additionally, Richardson said his client is dealing with the death of the boy's father. Amos Osceola was found dead just a few days ago after he drove his car into a canal, according to Richardson.

    Bryan's was just one of many cases in Florida in which the Department of Children and Families had a history with the family before the child died. The DCF investigator assigned to Bruno's case, Shani Smith, abruptly resigned after Bryan's death.

    "I have no regrets," Smith said. "What I regret is that this baby died, that's the regret I have, but I did nothing wrong."

    While Bruno has been in jail for the last year awaiting trial, she will be placed in an alcohol abuse program and later released on probation as part of her plea deal. Her two other children have been in the custody of their grandmother since her arrest.

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