Zobeida Gonzalez admits responsibility in boy's drowning
Mother of day care owner agrees to plea deal in death of Jonathan Feliciano
MIAMI – The mother of a day care owner pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter Thursday, taking responsibility for the death of a 3-year-old boy who drowned in a swimming pool.
Under the terms of her plea deal with prosecutors, Zobeida Gonzalez will spend 30 days in jail this year plus a weekend in jail next year, to be followed by eight years of probation.
Jonathan Feliciano drowned in a pool at the Mayi Family Day Care in December 2013.
Gonzalez, who lived at the home where her daughter and son-in-law operated the day care, told Miami-Dade police that she left Jonathan alone for about a minute to turn off the air-conditioning unit in the shed. However, police said surveillance video from a neighboring establishment showed that she left the boy unsupervised for almost 30 minutes.
As part of the plea deal, Gonzalez was required to make a public apology to the boy's parents.
"I was so negligent," Gonzalez's attorney, Scott Egleston, read from a letter written by her. "I was looking after him and I failed Jonathan, and I failed you too. I bear the responsibility of his death now and for the rest of my life. He's gone because of me because I took my eyes off of him. I'm at fault and I cannot dispute it."
Gonzalez's family members were in the courtroom during her plea, but Jonathan's parents were absent, disappointed that the punishment wasn't more severe.
Both of Gonzalez's jail terms fall on the December anniversary of Jonathan's death.
"This was a little boy that called her grandma and she treated as her grandson," Egleston told Local 10 News. "So this has just completely shattered her."
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