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Sep 25, 2014
Mother of drowned baby gets prison time
In court on Monday, Melissa Gutierrez, 28, apologized for her negligence, saying she hopes to turn her life around so that her baby’s death wasn’t in vain.
In a negotiated plea, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to one count of negligent homicide, while additional charges of manslaughter, two counts of reckless conduct and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child were not prosecuted for the drowning incident Aug. 25, 2011, at 46 Wilson Hill Road in Merrimack.
The youngest boy, Christian N’Tapalis, drowned as a result of her negligence, police said.
“I am sorry. I would tell him that I am sorry and that it wasn’t supposed to be that way,” said Gutierrez, apologizing repeatedly for the drowning. “I love him. I love him.”
Previously, a medical expert testified in court that Gutierrez has led a life surrounded with death and drug addiction, noting she previously had an addiction to crack cocaine, prostituted herself and was the victim of a gang rape.
A doctor hired by the defense also previously testified that Gutierrez was suffering from acute stress disorder the moment she found her baby unconscious and, with assistance from a neighbor, attempted to resuscitate the child.The baby’s father, Peter J. N’Tapalis, was not forthcoming with police, according to David Tenzca of the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office.“It is tragic,” Tenzca said of the baby’s death. However, Tenzca said the incident “was only a matter of time, unfortunately,” elaborating on a previous arrest when Gutierrez allegedly left her older son unattended in parked vehicle for an extended period of time in the summer months with just one window cracked open.
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