Mother arrested for manslaughter and neglect after toddler drowns in pond

Late Monday, a 22-year-old mother from Ormond Beach was arrested after her 3-year-old son was found dead in a pond on Sunday. Myra Santiago faces charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child and child neglect, and she is currently being held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail.

Authorities responded to a drowning report at the San Marco Apartments in Ormond Beach on Sunday, where the toddler, Aziryh Santiago, was found lifeless in a retention pond. The police investigation revealed that the child had previously escaped the apartment multiple times, and Myra Santiago had not taken appropriate measures to secure the door and prevent him from leaving.

Security footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera showed the child leaving the apartment at 6:46 a.m. on Sunday, holding a tablet and running towards the pond. Myra Santiago initially attempted to deceive police by claiming she had left her son with a neighbor while she went out with a friend on Saturday evening. However, the neighbor refuted this claim.

Upon being confronted about the false statement, Myra Santiago declined to discuss the incident further. She admitted that her son had last visited her room at 6 a.m. on Sunday to request his tablet. She woke up at 1:45 p.m., discovered her son was missing, and eventually found the crime scene near the pond. The mother also confessed that her son had escaped the third-floor apartment on numerous occasions.

Myra Santiago said she had inquired about installing locks on her door but was told she would need to purchase them herself. She claimed she could not afford the locks, but police discovered over $100 in her bedroom, along with glass smoking pipes, marijuana, e-cigarettes, and alcohol bottles. The Ormond Beach police report stated that Myra Santiago clearly had the funds to buy a lock but chose not to do so.