Thursday, June 21, 2018
Public safety

Spring Hill woman charged with neglect after 1-year-old nearly drowns

SPRING HILL — The call came into 911 at 4:38 Tuesday afternoon.

"Send someone out here," a woman yelled.

She didn't identify herself, Hernando County Sheriff's Office officials said. Then, when the operator asked for more information, the woman hung up.

"There was no mention," a report said, "of (a 1-year-old child) being face down in the backyard pool."

Emergency personnel rushed to the home at 8485 Beach Road and revived the boy, who was taken to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. He was listed in stable condition Wednesday.

Melinda Sue Vairo, 36, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect. She posted $4,000 bail and was released from the Hernando County Detention Center.

Vairo's speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol when deputies questioned her Tuesday. Authorities say she had been drinking with her friend by the pool for several hours.

Deputies say they found nine empty bottles of Bud Light Platinum and an empty bottle of rum in the area.

Neither woman, a report says, could explain how the child fell into the pool or how long he had been floating in the water. Vairo later told detectives she had been inside the house playing with another child, a 1-year-old girl, and did not realize the little boy wasn't with her. The report did not explain her relationship to the children.

A state Department of Children and Families caseworker asked Vairo to submit to a drug screening. She refused. After determining that Vairo "was in no condition to care for the safety and wellbeing" of the children, whose names were redacted from the report, authorities removed them from the home.

In her mug shot, Vairo's brown hair is disheveled, and her eyes are nearly swollen shut. Wrapped in a white garment, she's still wearing a fluorescent hot-pink bathing suit top.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

Police: Couple leased someone else’s home to 15 families at same time

LARGO — Vanessa Rodriguez thought she found the right house for her three kids, in the right neighborhood, for the right rent. She signed the lease for April 30, sent a $2,300 money order and planned to move in June 1.Then the delays started. She sai...
Updated: 6 hours ago
15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

TAMPA — The contractors arriving at the Brandon home thought they were meeting with a potential customer. They were wrong.In fact, the would-be clients were undercover detectives and the contractors, lacking a license to ply their trade, left the hom...
Updated: 11 hours ago
St. Pete police investigating social media threat against Pride event

St. Pete police investigating social media threat against Pride event

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a threat against St. Pete Pride weekend based on a social media comment left on a Tampa Bay Times story.A Facebook commenter used an alias to post the threat on a story about a pop-up gay club planned for the...
Published: 06/20/18
Driver in fatal Tampa hit-and-run turns himself in

Driver in fatal Tampa hit-and-run turns himself in

TAMPA — The driver who was sought in a fatal hit-and-run on Sunday night has turned himself in.Police say Roger Herelle, 33, told detectives Wednesday he was involved in the crash that killed Sally Ann McClellan Webb, 58.Police had had been seeking t...
Published: 06/20/18
Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

Five guns taken in 30 reported break-ins of unlocked cars in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Thieves have made off with at least five guns after breaking into unlocked vehicles in recent days, police said Wednesday morning.Over the past three days, a group of people have been breaking into unlocked vehicles across the city. Clea...
Published: 06/20/18
Police investigating body found floating near Davis Islands

Police investigating body found floating near Davis Islands

TAMPA — Police are working to recover a body that was found floating in the water near the Davis Island Sea Basin on Wednesday morning.It is uncertain how the body ended up there, according to police.This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com...
Published: 06/20/18
Pasco Sheriff: Hudson man faces sexual battery charges

Pasco Sheriff: Hudson man faces sexual battery charges

HUDSON — A 33-year-old man is facing charges of sexual battery and rape after Pasco County Sheriff’s deputies said he assaulted a 14-year-old girl.Christopher Hall, who was 31 at the time of the incident, forced the victim into a bathroom, took off h...
Published: 06/20/18
SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

ST. PETERSBURG — A car that is straddling the center concrete barrier is causing a visual slowdown Wednesday morning on Interstate 275.The incident occurred sometime around 7:30 a.m.The passenger side of the car can be seen hanging along the median o...
Published: 06/20/18
New Port Richey man faces sexual battery charge

New Port Richey man faces sexual battery charge

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 33-year-old man was arrested Monday on a charge of sexual battery, accused of assaulting a 10-year-old girl.Jonathan Wells was booked into the Pasco County jail, where he was being held Tuesday without bail.The assault took place ...
Published: 06/19/18
St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

More than 2,000 Duke Energy customers are without power after a cluster of storms rolled through earlier this afternoon, according to Duke Energy.The area without power stretches along 62nd Avenue N from 12th Street N to 30th Way N, according to the ...
Published: 06/19/18