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Manchester mom who left baby in tub convicted of manslaughter

February 13. 2012 10:59PM

MANCHESTER - A woman who left her 1-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old sons in the bathtub and spent 40 minutes online while the youngest drowned was convicted of manslaughter, negligent homicide and reckless conduct by a Hillsborough County Superior Court jury Friday.

Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan said Jessica Botelho, 24, faces sentences of 15 to 30 years at the New Hampshire State Prison on the manslaughter conviction and an additional two to five years for reckless conduct.

Police said she left the children unsupervised in the tub the afternoon of July 13, 2010, while she used her computer on the porch of her Hayward Street apartment. When the older boy got out of the tub and told his mother the baby was 'sleeping,' Botelho returned to the bathroom and found the 1-year-old not breathing.

She took the baby to a neighbor, who told her to start CPR, and a friend took her to Elliot Hospital.

The infant was not breathing and had no pulse, but after 15 minutes, medical personnel were able to get his heart beating. But he suffered from 'minimal brain function and severe neurological devastation' and was removed from life support. He died July 20, 2010.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie Duval listed his cause of death as 'complications of near-drowning.'

Botelho initially said she left the children alone only for a few minutes, but a computer analysis showed she was actively online for 40 minutes while the children were alone in the tub.

Relatives said at the time of the drowning that she put the boys into the tub several times a day 'as a way to pacify them.'

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Jennifer Sandoval prosecuted the case against Botelho.

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