Golden Gate Estates woman arrested, accused of letting infant drown in bathtub

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A 29-year-old woman has been arrested after she let a baby in her care drown in a bathtub.

Nicole Marie Laber of Golden Gate Estates faces a manslaughter charge, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said Laber “staged the child’s death to make it appear as if it were an accident.”

Deputies responded to the drowning at Laber’s home on Everglades Boulevard at around 7:40 a.m. on June 17.

They began performing chest compressions on the baby, but the child was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

According to the sheriff’s office, she told deputies she briefly left the baby inside the house unattended while retrieving her dog and another young child in her care after they went out the front door.

When she returned, she told deputies, she found the baby slumped on the floor, face-down in the dog’s water bowl.

Neighbors with small children say you have to be careful.

“When you see a toddler, like our little thing here, 13 months old, she’s never in a room by herself for any length of time,” Bob Lippe said.

Investigators found that she left the infant unattended in the bathtub while strapped to a booster seat. The infant drowned after the booster seat tipped over and trapped the child under a few inches of water.

“Just don’t be scared to call the ambulance and act quickly,” Raquel Stele said.

Laber is accused of cleaning up the scene, dressing the child in a diaper and saying the baby drowned in the dog’s water bowl.

Laber remains in Collier County jail.

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