Polk sheriff: Mom arrested after baby left unattended for 5 hours suffocates

POLK COUNTY -- A mother is charged with manslaughter for the death of her 8-month-old baby after officials say she left the baby unattended for more than five hours-- causing the baby to suffocate in a blanket. 

The Polk County Sheriff's Office says on February 13, 2017, Jada LeeBoeuf, 19, left the house after midnight shortly after her baby fell asleep on the couch. She told detectives she went to McDonalds to get something to eat and left her baby Journey on the couch because she didn't want to wake anyone up. Detectives later found out she lied and after investigation, they discovered she left the house to go to a hookah bar in Lakeland. When that one was closed, they went to a hookah bar in Orlando before stopping at a McDonalds in Kissimmee. 

Jada lived with her mom, aunt, and grandparents in Winter Haven but failed to tell them she was leaving. Family members last saw Journey in the evening before they went to bed. They say Jada usually slept on the couch in the living room and Journey would sleep in a car seat near Jada. The morning of Journey's death, family members did not see Jada or Journey-- just her empty car seat and Jada's blanket on the couch. They assumed they left together. Shortly after Jada returned home around 5:30 a.m., she found the baby on the couch-- tangled in a blanket and unresponsive. 

An autopsy revealed Journey died from suffocation. 

Deputies determined Jada failed to provide care to her 8-month-old daughter and the failure led to her death. 

"This terrible tragedy was 100% preventable. It is beyond comprehension how a mother could leave her child alone for five hours.  That beautiful little baby girl should be alive today." said Sheriff Grady Judd.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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