Pa. woman facing hearing in child's death

April 05, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A preliminary hearing was scheduled for this morning in Franklin County Central Court for a Chambersburg woman charged in the drowning death of her infant daughter in November.

Jessica Bobbett, 21, of 300 S. Second St., Apt. A, is charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child in the death of 11-month-old Ja-liyaha Aviles on Nov. 2, 2004, in their former home at 212 Linden Ave., police said. The charge is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Although Bobbett was charged in the case, the affidavit of probable cause alleged that it was Ja-liyaha Aviles' 3-year-old sibling that placed her and her twin brother, Jahleel, in the bathtub while Bobbett slept.


Jahleel Aviles remained in critical condition for weeks at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, but Detective Sgt. Dianne Kelso said Monday she believed the child has since been discharged. Jahleel, the 3-year-old girl and another 2-year-old child of Bobbett were in foster care as of a few weeks ago, Kelso said.

Bobbett was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Gary Carter on Thursday and jailed in Franklin County Prison on $10,000 bond. Deputy Warden John Eyler said Monday that Bobbett was released on bond Friday.

The affidavit stated that police were called to the Linden Avenue home at 2:24 p.m. for a report of two infants in cardiac arrest. Police officers began CPR on the children before ambulance crews arrived and took them to Chambersburg Hospital, where Ja-liyaha was pronounced dead.

Bobbett told police she was asleep and "awoke to find her 3-year-old gone from the bedroom," according to the affidavit. She called out for the child and the girl entered the room carrying one of the infants, who was "wet and not breathing," police said.

While Bobbett called 911 and tried to administer first aid, the 3-year-old carried in the second infant.

The affidavit stated police noticed "a strong odor of alcohol" on Bobbett. She consented to a blood test, which showed she had a blood alcohol level of 0.09 percent at 4 p.m., the affidavit alleged.

Under Pennsylvania law, a person can be charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. Although Bobbett was 20 years old at the time of the incident, Kelso said she was not charged with underage drinking.

Bobbett told police she had been up with family and friends the night before and had not gone to bed until 9 a.m. on the day her daughter died, according to the affidavit. She also told police she had been drinking beer over the course of the evening, the affidavit stated.

Citing the statute for endangering the welfare of a child, the criminal complaint stated Bobbett "knowingly endangered the welfare of her four minor children by violating her duty of care, protection and support, ultimately resulting in the death of Ja-liyaha Aviles and injury of Jahleel Aviles, her twin infants."

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