- Associated Press - Friday, June 28, 2019

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island woman whose adoptive special needs daughter was found dead in a bathtub in January has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Michele Rothgeb appeared in court on Friday to answer to charges in the death of 9-year-old Zha-Nae.

The Warwick woman was released on $25,000 bond. She and her attorney refused to comment outside court.

Zha-Nae, who had cerebral palsy, was one of eight special needs children Rothgeb was caring for alone in what authorities said was a squalid home.

The case led to disciplinary action against several state Department of Children, Youth and Families workers and changes in the way the agency functions.

The state Office of the Child Advocate issued a report earlier this month blaming the agency’s ineptitude and inaction for the girl’s death.

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