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Date of Issue: June 18, 2008

Judge reduces bond in neglect case

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Pamela McDaniel, 39

A Manatee County Circuit Court judge last week reduced the bond for a Holmes Beach woman awaiting trial on a child neglect charge.

Pamela McDaniel, 39, was arrested in January and is charged with one count of child neglect, a third-degree felony, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a first-degree misdemeanor.

According to a Holmes Beach Police Department report, McDaniel was arrested after her 2-year-old child was found face down in a bathtub in their Holmes Beach apartment.

McDaniel found the boy in the tub, sought the help of neighbors, who revived him, and he was treated at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

After her arrest, McDaniel posted bail and was released from jail. But she was rearrested in June after she failed to appear for a court hearing.

Last week, McDaniel’s public defender, David Ehlers, asked the Circuit Court Judge Diana Moreland to lower the bond from $50,000 to $5,120.

Ehlers said McDaniel’s failure to appear resulted from a miscommunication between him and his client, not a disregard for the court.

The judge agreed to lower the bond.

Ehlers also said the prosecutor’s case against McDaniel is weak - she only left her son unattended briefly and the child has had seizures that might have been a factor.

The HBPD incident report filed in the case said McDaniel was “not totally coherent; her eyes were glassy and bloodshot … indicating that the defendant was high on an illegal substance.”

Police reported finding drug paraphernalia near the front door of the apartment and within reach of the child.

The police also reported finding numerous child hazards in the home, including a plastic bag and a pair of wire cutters on the floor, and that “the home was so filled with clothing, empty crates, assorted items and numerous alcohol tumblers on the floor that you could not take a step without stepping on or tripping over an object. The playpen that the victim slept in was filled with hangers, blankets, pillows, a box and other items.”

HBPD alleged a pattern of neglect, citing a November 2007 incident in which officers went to a bank branch where McDaniel “appeared to be drunk and had left the child unattended.”