LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster woman will serve up to eight years in prison for causing permanent, debilitating injuries to her young daughter when she left the girl alone in a bathtub to smoke marijuana.
Jaquia Morales, 32, was sentenced to four to eight years in state prison. She was convicted in October of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
The district attorney’s office said Morales left the 2-year-old girl in the tub with running water in November 2008. The girl inhaled water into her lungs, went unresponsive, and sustained brain damage.
Authorities said the child, now with an adoptive family, will function intellectually at an infant’s level for the rest of her life. She cannot walk on her own or speak, and her vision is severely impaired.
Morales was charged last year after she wrote a letter to explain “what really happened” to her daughter. “First, I’m truly sorry my love bug, I was giving you a bath that day and filled the tub, I left the water running, I put you in the tub,” she wrote. “I went and stupidly smoked weed.”
When Morales was interviewed after the incident, she told police her daughter was sleeping then began breathing hard and wouldn’t wake up. A chest x-ray showed the girl had water in her lungs.
According to trial testimony, Morales did not call 911 or tell first responders what really happened. Doctors testified that the girl would have died if a grandmother had not called 911.