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Two arrested; woman accused of child abuse

Published Sep. 9, 2005

Witnesses at a Clearwater restaurant tell police that a baby was given sips of beer.

A woman was arrested Thursday on a child abuse charge after workers at a Clearwater restaurant saw her give three or four sips of beer to her 8-month-old baby, police reported.

Paula Edith Murano, 37, of 650 Bay Esplanade, also was charged with drunken driving after she was pulled over while driving with the child in her car, police reported.

Both she and her boyfriend, William Gerard Paige, 33, of the same address, also were charged with leaving the restaurant without paying their bill, police reported.

In the baby's diaper bag were three unopened cans of beer, police reported. The baby's milk bottle smelled rotten and was filled with curdled milk and dirt, police noted in an arrest report.

Police were called to Palm Pavillion, 10 Bay Esplanade, just before 8 p.m. Thursday to investigate a report that two diners had left without paying a $51.08 check. Murano and Paige had no money when they were arrested, police reports state.

Police stopped Murano as she drove away in a 1984 Oldsmobile and noted she had a strong odor of alcohol on her breath and her eyes were glassy and bloodshot, arrest reports state.

Officers reported Murano admitted to drinking two beers and did poorly on field sobriety tests. Breath test results showed the 119-pound Murano had a blood-alcohol level of 0.170 to 0.181, more than twice the legal limit in Florida, arrest reports state.

While police investigated, a waiter and waitress told officers they saw Murano give the child three or four sips of draft beer, according to arrest reports.

The child was turned over to the Department of Children and Families.