SW Florida Daycare Owner Charged in Boy’s Death

A woman was charged after a 3-year-old drowned at a Lehigh Acres daycare while under her care.

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A southwest Florida daycare owner faces aggravated manslaughter and child neglect charges after a 2-year-old boy drowned while in her care.

The Fort Myers News-Press reports 42-year-old Melissa Smith was arrested Thursday and remained in the Lee County Jail early Friday.

Authorities say Christian Byrd drowned June 24 in a kiddie pool at Smith Family Day Care in Lehigh Acres.

Deputies say Smith was watching seven children that day. She put Christian, a 3-year-old and two 4-year-olds in the pool before going in to check on the other children. When she came back out, a child told her "Christian's dead." She took him to a neighbor's house for help, leaving the other three children in the pool and three children inside the house.

Smith's attorney says she is devastated.

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