Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mother of 8-month-old baby who died in December charged with aggravated child abuse

TAMPA — The night before 8-month-old Gabrielle Crawford died, his mother used enough force to break his arm and leg, police say.

Rosalee Crawford didn't seek help, and her son died the next morning, according to Tampa police.

On Friday — two months after the child's death — authorities charged Crawford, 33, with two counts of aggravated child abuse.

She could face additional charges, but authorities are waiting for a final autopsy report before they decide. She is in the Orient Road jail.

Gabrielle's twin brother, Micha, has been in foster care since just after Gabrielle's death.

Crawford had previously refused interviews but changed her mind Friday, police say, after hearing about a Tampa Bay Times report on her son's death. The Times reported Friday that after weeks of investigating, authorities determined Gabrielle's death was a homicide.

The state Department of Children and Families called Gabrielle's death another example of the failure of Hillsborough Kids Inc., the county's lead child protection agency, to avert a death in a family under its watch. HKI lost its $65.5 million contract in January. Eckerd Youth Alternatives, which performs similar services in Pinellas and Pasco, will take over July 1.

Gabrielle was the ninth child in an active case to die in the past two years. No other region in the state has a child death rate as high; most have had one to two child deaths.

On March 11, Gabrielle and Micha were born prematurely. Gabrielle had multiple birth defects, including hydrocephalus, known as water on the brain. He was never expected to live past 2. In his first months, he endured on a ventilator and a feeding tube, first at Tampa General Hospital and later at a nursing home.

Then in September, the nursing home discharged him with a shunt behind his ear and a feeding tube. He was given to his mother, who was staying at the Alpha House, a shelter for mothers in crisis.

Over the past 10 years, Rosalee Crawford has received help for substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence. Her four older children had been taken by the state.

But the Alpha House refused to accept Gabrielle because it isn't able to care for a baby with such severe medical issues, according to a DCF report.

So Crawford would have to leave the shelter, "a key stabilizing force in her life."

On Dec. 2, Crawford's friend Charlotte Tobias called 911 to report that Gabrielle wasn't breathing.

Tobias had allowed Crawford and her twins to spend the night at her Tampa home. She said Crawford had shown up about 1 a.m. saying she couldn't get Gabrielle to stop crying.

Micha slept in a car seat. Gabrielle lay in a bed between his mother and Tobias. He cried most of the night. He seemed inconsolable. Tobias said he had a large blue mark on his forehead.

Just after 8 a.m., Tobias said Crawford woke her, asking for a light for her cigarette. Gabrielle was lying on his back. Tobias thought he was sleeping. She got up and left the room.

Then she heard Crawford screaming. She found Crawford holding Gabrielle, attempting a crude form of CPR. She said the baby was unresponsive, cold to the touch.

He was dead.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433. John Barry can be reached at jbarry@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3383.

Tampa mother of 8-month-old baby who died in December charged with aggravated child abuse 02/03/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 3, 2012 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Photo of the Day for September 19, 2017 - Great Egret with green mating coloration

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Barbara Motter of Weeki Wachee, FL.

  2. 20 local museums are offering free admission or deals Saturday for Free Museum Day

    Visual Arts

    For all the community's support of the arts in the bay area, it's nice to be rewarded with free admission once in a while. And that's exactly what many area museums are offering on Saturday.

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  3. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

  4. Bicyclist in critical condition after colliding with vehicle in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist is in critical condition after he ran a red light and was struck by a car on Monday night, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

  5. Myanmar leader sidesteps atrocity allegations in first address on Rohingya crisis (w/video)

    World

    YANGON, Myanmar - In her first major speech Tuesday on the worsening Rohingya crisis, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, sidestepped allegations of atrocities committed against the stateless Muslim minority and cast the conflict as just one of many problems ailing the country.

    A Rohingya Muslim, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carries his belongings as he arrives at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. With a mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing from the United Nations and others, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday said her country does not fear international scrutiny and invited diplomats to see some areas for themselves. [Associated Press]