The Kendall mother charged in the death of her 11-month-old son after he was allegedly left in her car appeared in court Wednesday, requesting to see her other children.
Catalina Bruno's attorney Lonnie Richardson made the case that her 10- and 4-year-olds would not be in danger if they visit her in jail behind plexiglass.
Bruno was arrested in November 2012 on charges of child neglect and DUI after she was found passed out behind the wheel of her car with the infant in the front seat, arrest records showed.
DCF Documents Reveal History With Family of Boy Who Died After Being Left in Car
Earlier this month, Bruno was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter after her son, identified as Bryan Miguel Osceola, died after he was left unattended in her car.
She remains behind bars and her arraignment date has been set for June 7.
Bruno's other attorney, Frank Gaviria, earlier said the DUI case has nothing to do with the manslaughter case.
Fired DCF Investigator Denies Wrongdoing
"With that underlying case there's a presumption of innocence. She has not been found guilty of that particular case. I don't think there's any allegation that there was any alcohol involved in this particular case. So, I don't think that case bears anything with respect to this case," Gaviria said.
On Wednesday Richardson also asked that she be allowed to see a psychiatrist, not as a competency defense tactic, but out of concern for her well-being. The judge granted that request but waited for the official motion to be filed to decide whether she can see her other children.
Former Department of Children and Families employee Shani Smith said that after the November incident, she sent Bruno to a substance evaluation.
"I faxed the referral and got the copy of the faxed referral and cover sheet saying it was sent and I put it in the file," she said.
But DCF fired Smith, saying she falsified documents. In a statement Wednesday, they said the department conducted a thorough search of its electronic and paper files and has found no record of a substance abuse assessment for this client. In addition, the provider that conducts the assessments also has no record of an evaluation ever being requested or conducted.
"We really hope that they'll investigate the worker at great lengths, look at each and every file of hers and get to the bottom of it because the reality is you're never going to have really a complaint that someone drops your case unless there's a tragedy at the end of it," said Richardson.
Smith said she is a scapegoat and that she has a Polygraph test to prove she is telling the truth. Her immediate supervisor has been placed on administrative leave while the case is being investigated.
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