Woman returns to face charges in toddler’s near-drowning


A woman accused of causing permanent, debilitating injuries to her young daughter 10 years ago has been returned to Lancaster County to face charges.

Jaquia Morales, 31, was a wanted fugitive on aggravated assault and child endangerment charges until she surrendered to authorities in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month.

She was arraigned Tuesday and placed in Lancaster County Prison on $250,000 bail.

Police say the 2-year-old girl nearly drowned and suffered permanent brain damage in November 2008 when Morales left her unattended in a bathtub and went outside to smoke marijuana.

The girl, now 12, lives with an adopted family and suffers from adult respiratory distress syndrome. Morales wrote a letter to her years later, which was turned over to police.

In the letter, Morales wrote that she wanted to let her daughter know “what really happened.”

“I was giving you a bath that day and filled the tub, I left the water running,” she wrote. “I went and stupidly smoked weed.”

Morales gave police a different account in 2008.

A forensic pathologist’s report in August led to the charges. The report states the girl’s injuries were caused by the near-drowning.

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