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A 34-year-old Florida woman has been accused of killing her 14-year-old special needs daughter after becoming enraged over an exchange the two had in a hospital room back in July, the local NBC affiliate reports.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Pensacola police announced the arrest of Jessica Bortle for manslaughter. She’s currently being held without bond.
The victim was Bortle’s daughter, Jasmine Singletary. Authorities say Singletary was a special needs person who had a neuromuscular disorder. On July 8, Singletary was taken to a Pensacola hospital because of an infection. Five days later (July 13) Singletary was in her hospital room with Bortle, as well as her grandmother.
Police say that on the latter date Singletary lost consciousness and died, despite efforts made by hospital staff. An autopsy performed a little over a week afterward found that her ribs and liver sustained massive injuries, with these issues not being present when she was admitted into the hospital.
An investigation points to Bortles being the person who inflicted the harm. As reported by NBC 25 News, an arrest report likened Singletary’s injuries to “those found on traffic crash victims.” The same report said the cause was “blunt force trauma.”
In their press release, police said that the Medical Examiner “indicated that the injuries were so severe that Jasmine would have died only minutes after receiving them.” It was determined that she must have suffered them while in her hospital bed.
The report claims that surveillance video from outside the hospital room showed Bortle exiting shortly before her daughter was discovered by hospital staff. It also says Bortle was “shaking and flexing her hand as if in pain.”
Police say Bortle initially lied by saying nothing happened to cause the injuries. Later on she told them she “slammed the hospital table into Singletary’s abdomen and then leaned onto the table with her weight.” The report says she claimed she did it because her daughter swore at her about crayons.
It was reported that this version of events was similar to the statement of the grandmother.