Mom kills hospitalized teen with special needs in fight over crayons, Florida cops say
Jessica Bortle is accused of killing her 14-year-old daughter with special needs after an argument over color crayons in the hospital, according to police in Florida.
Jasmine Singletary was battling an infection and admitted on July 8 to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, where she regularly received treatment for a neuromuscular disorder, Pensacola police said in a news release.
Five days later, Singletary lost consciousness and stopped breathing while in the hospital room with her 34-year-old mother and grandmother, according to police.
Hospital staff performed “life saving procedures,” but the teen was unresponsive and pronounced dead, police said.
Bortle initially lied to police about her daughter’s injuries, but then later confessed to slamming “the table into Singletary’s abdomen and then lean(ing) onto the table with her weight,” according to an arrest report obtained by WEAR-TV.
The teen’s grandmother said she saw the incident unfold after Singletary threw her crayons around the room, the Pensacola News Journal reported. The grandmother told Bortle to cool down and “that’s just how Jasmine is.”
A few minutes later, the grandmother told investigators that she heard her granddaughter say “grandma” and then “her eyes rolled back in her head,” the journal said.
Video footage captured Bortle exiting the hospital room “shaking and flexing her hand as if in pain” just before staff found Singletary unconscious, WEAR-TV reported.
An autopsy conducted on July 21 showed that Singletary died from “massive injuries to her ribs and liver, injuries that were not present when she was admitted to the hospital,” police said.
“The Medical Examiner indicated that the injuries were so severe that Jasmine would have died only minutes after receiving them, and that they had to have occurred while Jasmine was confined to her hospital bed,” police said.
Investigators interviewed Bortle and determined that she committed the “injuries that caused the death of” Singletary, police said.
Singletary’s injuries were “similar to those found on traffic crash victims” and were the result of “blunt force trauma,” according to Bortle’s police report obtained by WEAR-TV.
Bortle lives in Bonifay, about 110 miles east of Pensacola.She was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter, police said. She is being held in Escambia County Jail with bail set at $500,000.
Bortle appeared in the Escambia County courtroom via a video feed on Tuesday afternoon, the Pensacola Journal reported.
“Our goal is to continue to work closely with the State Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of this case,” police wrote in a statement. “The Pensacola Police Department extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Jasmine Singletary.”