Babysitter charged in 5-year-old's drowning death

PALM BAY — The day before a 5-year-old girl died after being pulled from a dirty pool, her babysitter was at a party where she had alcohol and drugs.

And the morning of Nov. 25 — the day Aubrey Alcott was removed from the dirty and moldy pool – the 22-year-old woman watching her ingested marijuana, according to statements in a police report.

On Wednesday, babysitter Jacqueline Chiara Bjorndal was arrested on a charge of aggravated manslaughter  of a child by neglect after a Palm Bay police investigation, according to police and records.

In interviews with police, Bjorndal, who lives in the 1300 block of Knecht Road, said she had alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana and methamphetamines at a party Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving, according to a report and Lt. Mike Bandish of the Palm Bay Police Department.

Then, she asked to babysit Alcott for a “sleepover.” Aubrey's mother agreed, not knowing about the drugs Bjorndal had taken.

The next morning, Bjorndal ingested marijuana after Alcott woke up around 8:30 a.m.

Bjorndal said that she and Aubrey were watching a movie upstairs when the child asked to go outside to pet a caged pig in the backyard.

Bjorndal thought that was OK, saying the girl is “extremely independent and self-sufficient,” a report states.

The pig was in a pen next to the pool, which was described as dirty, moldy and with furniture at the bottom. Coiled hoses were around the pool, and tools and equipment were on the patio.

Bjorndal said she could yell to Aubrey and she would respond. She said the girl was outside for about 5 to 10 minutes before she realized she wasn’t responding.

She didn’t see Aubrey in the pool and started searching the neighborhood. About 20 minutes later, a roommate saw an “unusual shadow” in the pool and got a metal rod and poked it. The object was soft and he realized it was Aubrey.

She was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne where she was pronounced dead.

A medical examiner found edema, or swelling, in the heart and lungs, which the examiner reported is consistent with drowning and being underwater at least seven minutes.

Bandish said he did not anticipate anyone else being arrested in connection with the case.

Bjorndal was being held at the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes without bail.

USA TODAY NETWORK


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