Highlands County Tragedy Charges Filed Against Two Women After Infant's Death in Avon Park

Highlands County Tragedy: Charges Filed Against Two Women After Infant’s Death in Avon Park

HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla.– The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office has charged two women in connection with an infant’s death in Avon Park.

The baby’s mother, Sabrina Denise Watson, 28, and her cousin and legal guardian, Gwendolyn L. Wyche, 49, were accused after the youngster died on May 4. Deputies were dispatched to a Lake Avenue residence that morning after the baby was discovered to be unresponsive.

Because of Watson’s history of drug use, the baby and one of her siblings, age two, were removed from her custody and placed in the care of Wyche. Watson’s parents took care of another sibling, a four-year-old child. According to a court order, the children were not to live with Watson and may only see him under supervision.

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According to the investigation, Wyche dropped off the infant and the 2-year-old with Watson on the night of May 3 to take her children skating. Wyche promised to return and pick up the children, but she never did, according to deputies.

Watson had left the children alone in the house at one point during the night and had “smoked some type of drugs,” according to the sheriff’s office. They also described the property as dirty, with windows covered in wood and cardboard, unprotected outlets, and no running water.

According to WFLA, Watson rolled across the baby while lying on a mattress with the infant and toddler, causing her to become unresponsive.

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A medical examiner judged the child’s death to be an “accidental overlay,” according to officials. Watson was charged with negligent manslaughter of a child, child negligence, and possessing methamphetamine and drug equipment. Wyche faced charges of child maltreatment.

Watson’s parents, Angeline and William Watson were charged with child neglect for leaving the 4-year-old with Sabrina in violation of the court order.

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