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Man accused of leaving baby in hot tub unattended

Sept. 1, 2009

Wauwatosa police say a 44-year-old Cornell man's 14-month-old daughter nearly drowned in a Wauwatosa hotel hot tub while he drank beer and talked on the phone.

The man was arrested Aug. 28 for causing harm through child neglect.

He is sitting in Milwaukee County jail waiting to be charged with a crime.

The baby has been released from Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where she was treated for fluid in her lungs. The case has been referred to the Bureau of Child Welfare.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The man was watching his daughter at Super 8, 115 N. Mayfair Road, while his girlfriend, the baby's mother, visited her 3-year-old son who was recovering from heart surgery at Children's Hospital.

Between 4 and 8 p.m., he drank about 10 beers and took prescription medication. Then he decided to let his daughter go "swimming."

He left her alone for a few minutes while he talked on the phone. When he returned, she was floating face down in the water.

He performed CPR, then called the mother at the hospital and told her something was wrong with the baby. She rushed back to the hotel, found the girl unconscious on the bed and called 911.

Officers arrested the man because he tried to slip out of a back door while they interviewed witnesses. A background check on the father showed a lengthy record of arrests, and that he was wanted on a Wisconsin Department of Corrections warrant for violating probation. He and his girlfriend had been moving frequently, staying in various hotels to evade arrest.

A year ago, the Chippewa County Department of Human Services investigated a complaint of neglect and abuse against the parents, but social workers said the reports were unfounded. The man has two other children with another mother, and the mother has a 5-year-old daughter who lives with them at times.

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