We all know that you’re not supposed to walk away with the baby still in the tub, even if you just want to perform a quick little task like throwing an empty bottle into the dishwasher. I tend to be sympathetic with exhausted parents who make honest-to-god mistakes, such as ducking out into the bedroom when an older child begins throwing up all over the bed, or when the clothes dryer suddenly becomes imbalanced and starts banging up a storm. (In the case of the first baby, the mom forgot he was in the bath. In the case of the second, it slipped out of the positioner and drowned in the tiniest bit of water.) People do make mistakes, and it’s unfortunate when they have to pay for them with a baby’s life.
That being said, this woman’s first mistake was ever having a second child. No grieving parent is going to lie to investigators about how long the baby was left alone. A half hour is an incredibly long time to leave a non-sleeping infant alone (not to mention a four-year-old) without at least checking in on them, so I’m willing to bet this was a practice she’d grown comfortable with. It also wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the baby had been regularly left “in the care” of the autistic four-year-old.
What is it with people utilizing toddlers and preschoolers as babysitters?! I am equally horrified by the prospect of leaving an autistic, non-verbal four-year-old alone in the tub.