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Date of Issue: February 25, 2009

Mom sentenced to probation

A Manatee County Circuit Court judge last week sentenced a Holmes Beach woman to probation after she pleaded no contest on a drug charge.

Pamela McDaniel, 39, was arrested in January 2008 on 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.

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.”

After McDaniel pleaded no contest to the drug charge last week, the neglect charge was withdrawn.

Judge Diana Moreland said that in addition to serving one year on probation, McDaniel must receive a drug evaluation and recommended treatment, as well as complete a program with the Department of Children and Families.

McDaniel’s defender, David Ehlers, had characterized the case against his client as weak and said that the child suffered seizures, which might have been a factor in the incident.