One month after a Golden Gate toddler drowned in her bathtub, an investigation into the child’s death is ongoing, authorities say.
Fifteen-month-old Ava Grace Slaby died on the morning of February 15 after she drowned in a bathtub at the Golden Gate home of her mother, Randi MacLeod, according to family and law enforcement.
An autopsy was conducted on the child, but a report giving the cause of death has yet to be completed, according to the District 20 Medical Examiner’s Office. The report can take as long as 60 days after a death, a representative said.
A Collier County Sheriff’s Office death investigation into the drowning awaits the same report, which will also include toxicology results, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.
The Department of Children and Families continues to investigate, spokeswoman Erin Gillespie said. The department became involved with Ava’s family following allegations of drug abuse in the child’s household.
“At some point, we’ll have findings on the case, whether it’s verified as neglect or not,” Gillespie said.
At the time of DCF’s initial contact with MacLeod and the child, both lived with the family of Ava’s deceased father, Christopher Slaby Jr., at a different Golden Gate address. The mother and daughter moved into a rental home at 4290 26th Ave. SE, the weekend prior to Ava’s death.
Both the baby’s paternal grandmother, Pamela Slaby, and her maternal aunt, Rose MacLeod, said that Randi MacLeod told them she briefly left the child in a bathtub as she handled other chores around the house. In the 911 call, dispatchers asked if MacLeod had removed Ava from the bathtub.
Responders needed 13 minutes to find the home, as Randi MacLeod initially gave them the wrong address and her connection with dispatchers dropped several times.
The past few months have been difficult, Ava’s grandfather, Christopher Slaby Sr., said. His son, Christopher Slaby Jr., died in a rollover car crash in January. Then Ava died.
“I get upset now when I go into Walmart because I’m still looking (for toys),” he said.
Accusations of drug use have since been traded between the two sides of the family, and Slaby said he and his wife were excluded from a service for the child following her cremation.
The Slabys blame DCF in part for the child’s death, claiming a caseworker never followed up on a alleged drug test for Randi MacLeod.
“There’s nothing you can do about it now,” Christopher Slaby Sr. said.