Drowning death of 10 month old daughter results in state prison for her mother

February 7, 2019- Commonwealth v. Andrea Dale:  Andrea Dale, 20, was sentenced to one to two years in state prison plus a consecutive five year probationary term on the charge of involuntary manslaughter.  On December 13, 2018, Dale pleaded guilty before Dauphin County Judge Deborah E. Curcillo to the charges of Involuntary Manslaughter and Endangering the Welfare of a Child for recklessly leaving her 10 month old baby daughter unsupervised in a bathtub which resulted in the death of her daughter. 

On March 1, 2018, a call was received at the Dauphin County 911 call center reporting a 10 month old baby in cardiac arrest in an apartment on 4700 block of Queen Avenue in Lower Paxton Township.  Paramedics responded to the scene and found 10 month old Aubrey Scott on the floor of the apartment with a male resident of the apartment performing CPR.  In speaking with the child’s mother, Andrea Dale, paramedics were told that the mother had been feeding the baby when the baby became unresponsive.  Aubrey was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.   

Police obtained a search warrant for the apartment.  While forensically processing the scene police officers notice that the bathtub was full of water and had pieces of feces floating in the water.  Lower Paxton Detective Jeffrey Corcoran and Dauphin County Children & Youth caseworker Amber Hess began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Aubrey Scott.  Their investigation quickly determined that there were significant inconsistencies in the stories being provided by the mother and other residents of the Queen Avenue apartment.  The mother in particular provided multiple contradicting statements about where and how she found her daughter in distress. 

Ultimately it was determined that Aubrey Scott, along with her 2 year old sibling, had been placed into the bathtub by Dale.  At some point, while the children were still in the bathtub, Dale left the bathroom and was in her bedroom for an undetermined period of time.  A male resident of the apartment, who had been outside the residence, upon returning to the apartment discovered the baby floating in the bathtub. 

Chief Deputy District Attorney Seán M. McCormack stated, “While it was Ms. Dale’s gross negligence that resulted in the death of her baby daughter, I do give her credit for ultimately taking responsibility for her failure to protect her child and admitting her guilt.  Since her arrest, she has consistently indicated her desire to plead guilty and accept her punishment.”

McCormack continued, “This is the second case I have handled in the past year involving a mother acting in a grossly negligent manner when placing her infant into a bathtub and then walking away.  Parents have a sacred obligation to ensure for the health, welfare and safety of their children.  This is especially true when their children are so young and vulnerable.  This tragic death did not have to happen.”  He further asked parents to be mindful when bathing children and, “never leave an infant alone in a bathtub, even for a moment.  Because a moment is all it takes for tragedy to strike.”

McCormack praised the coordinated investigative efforts of Detective Jeffrey Corcoran and Dauphin County Child Protective Service caseworker Amber Hess“They conducted a textbook example of what is known as a Multi-disciplinary Investigative Team investigation.  Through their combined efforts we were able to determine what happened to Aubrey and ultimately bring her justice.”  McCormack also praised the efforts of South Central EMS paramedic Steve Hanford, emergency medical technician Joshua Erdman and Chief Jason Campbell for their efforts to try and resuscitate Aubrey Scott on March 1, 2018.