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Mom tried to drown boy, 3, deputies say

She said she thought the child was possessed by the devil, authorities say. She is accused of child abuse and attempted murder.

By LETITIA STEIN
Published October 23, 2004

BRANDON - The 911 call came from a house on Jeffrey Drive. The woman on the phone had a startling message, the dispatcher later said: She had been giving a 3-year-old boy a bath when she deliberately pushed him under the water and held him there.

"She thought the devil was inside the child," Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder said Friday.

Detectives arrested Yvonne Steinwand, 35, late Thursday and charged her with aggravated child abuse and attempted murder. The boy, identified by neighbors as Steinwand's son, was in stable condition on Friday at Brandon Regional Hospital.

According to Reder, Steinwand placed the boy face down in a plastic tub inside a regular bathtub. She admitted to holding his head under water for one to two minutes.

Neighbors said Steinwand had been living in California with her husband, but she recently came to Brandon for an extended stay with her parents. She had talked about moving closer to her family.

"She's so protective of her child," said Nazy Napier, 20, who has lived next door for three years. "The times I've seen her with her baby, she's been a good mom."

Steinwand, 35, is being held without bail at the Orient Road Jail.

Letitia Stein can be reached at 813 661-2443 or lstein@sptimes.com

[Last modified October 23, 2004, 01:12:14]


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