Daytona Beach, FL – The Holly Hill woman whose daughter and grandson drowned while in her care last summer will not face criminal charges.
The office of 7th Circuit State Attorney RJ Larizza announced earlier this week that it will not prosecute 34-year-old Martha Jenkins for the July 2015 deaths of 2-year-old Shana Cavanaugh and 1-year-old Ashton Jenkins.
Prosecutors say that the deaths of the toddlers were “tragic and potentially avoidable” but that the facts of the case didn’t rise to any sort of criminal charge against Jenkins, including manslaughter.
Investigators had recommended charging Jenkins with 2 counts of aggravated manslaughter of a child after the bodies were discovered around 11:30 AM last July 30th.
Jenkins claims she found the kids in her algae infested in-ground backyard pool shortly after waking up that day, but detectives determined soon afterward that the children had been dead for some time before the call for help came in.
A neighbor claims to have heard the sound of a child in distress around 7:30 that morning, but that neighbor didn’t contact authorities until after the kids’ bodies were found.
One of Jenkins’ relatives told the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office that she wasn’t surprised that the children had drowned because she had pulled the toddlers out of the pool several times before this incident.
Jenkins was interviewed by the Florida Department of Children & Families later that day and ended up testing positive for methadone, according to prosecutors.
Jenkins was never arrested or booked at Volusia County Jail in this incident, but she has been booked there 4 times previously since April 2002, including most recently in December 2013 and January 2014 on battery charges.
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