- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

OCALA, Fla. (AP) - A mother has been charged with manslaughter after her toddler drowned in an inflatable swimming pool. Authorities say she allegedly was snorting heroin, drinking and using other drugs the night before.

The victim’s sibling said her mother told her to tell authorities she was asleep when her brother, 2-year-old Manuel Mercado Jr., was found face down in the 30-inch deep pool in April. Brandi Dyal told authorities the victim and his brother must have somehow opened the door and escaped while she slept.

But officers said the latch was broken and the only way the deadbolt could be locked or unlocked was for the door to be lifted off its hinges.

Dyal was charged Wednesday. The Ocala Star Banner (Banner (https://tinyurl.com/nsq2m2q) reports she refused to talk to detectives.

Officers said the house was filled with bugs and there was no food. Neighbors said the older children typically watched their younger siblings.

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Information from: Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner, https://www.starbanner.com/

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