On January 10 of this year, eleven-month-old Aiden Leonardo drowned in the bathtub of his family’s Knoxville, Tennessee home when his 32-year-old mother, Lindsee Leonardo, left Aiden and his toddler sister alone in the tub to step outside for some “me time.”
At Lindsee’s preliminary hearing on February 4, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Miranda Spangler testified that she found no evidence to suggest Lindsee intended to drown Aiden. She was, however, most definitely “neglectful,” Detective Spangler said on the stand. “She left her baby in the tub.”
As I stated emphatically in my original post about Aiden, the mere idea of leaving your baby in the tub earns you a vehement “DUH!” in my book.
Lindsee faces charges of first-degree murder in perpetration of a crime and aggravated child abuse.
According to investigators, Lindsee told them on the night of the tragedy that she had left Aiden and his 23-month-old sister, Sophia, in the bathtub in four to six inches of water while she “went outside to smoke a cigarette and have some ‘me time,’ during which she listened to two songs on her phone, according to her arrest warrant. She spent about ten minutes outside before returning to the bathroom to find Sophia had turned on the faucet, causing the tub to fill with water. Aiden, Lindsee said, was floating on his back, not breathing, with Sophia standing in the tub next to him.
Lindsee said she dialed 911 and performed CPR, but Aiden was pronounced dead a short time later at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Lindsee’s attorney, Susan Shipley, argued for reduced charges at the hearing, saying that while the baby’s death was tragic, there was no evidence showing that Lindsee meant to hurt or drown him, adding that the charges were unsupported by the evidence.
“A person has to know the result of her conduct would cause a death,” Ms. Shipley told the court, suggesting that a charge of reckless homicide would be more appropriate.
Ms. Shipley questioned Detective Spangler, asking if she knew when she interviewed Lindsee that the mother had received permanent, traumatic brain injuries in a vehicular accident years ago and relies to this day on a trustee to take care of her assets and finances.
Spangler replied, “She said she’d been in a car wreck and had been in the hospital awhile,” adding that she didn’t discover the details of Lindsee’s condition until she spoke with Lindsee’s mother in a separate interview.
Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Sarah Keith argued that Lindsee had to have known the possible devastation her actions could cause. Leaving a child alone in the bathtub, Ms. Keith said, “is inherently dangerous.”
After deliberating overnight, Knox County Judge Patricia Long Hall bound over Lindsee’s charges to a grand jury on Wednesday, February 5, rejecting Lindsee’s claim that Aiden’s death was unintentional.
“She walked out of that bathroom with her two babies in [the tub],” said Judge Hall. “This is not an accident. It is intentional.”
The judge added, “The only thing that’s not foreseeable is that her other child didn’t die.”
Lindsee remains in jail on a $350,000 bond.
I will continue to update this case as information becomes available. Click here for my ongoing/future coverage of Aiden’s story.
Sources: Knox News, The New York Times