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Plant City mother arrested on manslaughter charge after son drowns in bathtub

Yesica Boxtha, 23, was arrested Sunday, more than four months after her 8-month-old son Mateo Montoya drowned, records show.
Yesica Boxtha, 23, of Plant City was arrested Sunday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, records show. The arrest comes more than four months after Boxtha's 8-month-old son Mateo Montoya drowned in a bathtub.
Yesica Boxtha, 23, of Plant City was arrested Sunday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, records show. The arrest comes more than four months after Boxtha's 8-month-old son Mateo Montoya drowned in a bathtub. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jan. 19, 2021|Updated Jan. 19, 2021

PLANT CITY — A Plant City mother has been arrested on a manslaughter charge more than four months after her infant son drowned in a bathtub, records show.

Yesica Boxtha, 23, was arrested Sunday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, Hillsborough County jail records show. Records show Boxtha was arrested on a warrant at the Orient Road jail and was released about six hours later after posting $15,000 bail.

An arrest report was not immediately available Tuesday.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating the drowning of 8-month-old Mateo Montoya since it was first reported Sept. 5. Mateo was pronounced dead that night at South Florida Baptist Hospital in Plant City, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by detectives.

About an hour earlier, Boxtha, had called authorities to say the boy had stopped breathing. She told deputies who answered the call that she had placed the boy in the bathtub, run the bathwater and left the bathroom, according to the affidavit. She became distracted and eventually fell asleep while the water continued running.

The father, Miguel Montoya Cerro, 27, arrived home about 30 minutes later and woke Boxtha, asking about the child, the affidavit said. She entered the bathroom to find the child unresponsive in the tub.

The death occurred at 20 Chestnut Drive, according to the affidavit, in a mobile home park north of Interstate 4.

Detectives said in the search warrant affidavit that they were looking into a possible charge of aggravated manslaughter in the case. Detectives obtained the search warrant Nov. 1 to inspect recordings stored in a digital video box beneath a television inside the home. Home video cameras may have been wired into the box.

An 8-month-old boy drowned in a bathtub at this Plant City mobile home on Sept. 5 while his mother was sleeping, sheriff's detectives said.
An 8-month-old boy drowned in a bathtub at this Plant City mobile home on Sept. 5 while his mother was sleeping, sheriff's detectives said. [ ANASTASIA DAWSON | Times ]

It appears the child’s death was listed on a database kept by the state Department of Children and Families. The database does not include names, but an entry at the time of Mateo Montoya’s death reads, “8-month-old infant was pronounced deceased after he was found unresponsive in the bathtub where he was left unattended.”

The entry said the Department of Children and Families had no previous involvement with the family.

Booking records list Boxtha’s occupation as teacher at Burney Elementary School in Plant City and her current home address on Twin Pine Drive in Plant City.

Boxtha is currently on leave pending an investigation of the charges, Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County School District, said in an email.

“Once the district was made aware of the police investigation she was removed from the classroom,” Arja said.

Boxtha was hired by the Hillsborough County School District in August 2019 and as of Dec. 30 had no previous disciplinary actions on her record.

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