LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- A Lehigh Acres daycare owner has been charged in a child's death. The just-released 911 calls are shedding new light on what happened.
Investigators say Melissa Smith was looking after seven children at her Lehigh Acres home daycare, when 2-year-old Christian Byrd drowned in a kiddie pool. Smith turned herself in yesterday.
Smith's fiance was in court this morning to show his support, along with her attorney. He tells us his client is devastated and grieving right now with the Byrd family.
As you can hear on the 911 recording from the day 2-year-old Christian died, Smith rushed next door quickly that day to her neighbor, a former Marine. He called for help. All Smith could do that day was rush to get Christian help after she allegedly stepped away for no more than seven minutes to use the restroom.
She closed Smith Family Daycare immediately after the June 24th incident. Smith's attorney says she's recently been working for a landscaping company, where she was Thursday when she left to turn herself in to authroties.
Smith made her first appearance in Lee County court Friday morning. A judge set her bond at $14,500. Smith is charged with aggravated manslaughter and three counts child neglect. That's much less than the State's original request. They asked for $100,000 on the manslaughter charge and $10,000 for each count of child neglect.
Smith's attorney, Robert Harris, pushed for the lesser bond, saying this is not a time to punish his client, rather to make sure she shows up to court. Harris told the judge that Smith is not a threat to the community.
She still cannot have contact with minors, aside from her own children, while the case is ongoing. She has three children, but one is an adult.
We'll continue to follow this case and bring you updates as they become availble.