A La Mesa, Calif., woman has been arrested for lying about where her two young children had drowned, and investigators say she lied about the location to prevent them from finding a small marijuana farm inside the home where she was staying.
Tassie Behrens was arrested on Thursday at a local motel. She was booked on charges that include felony child abuse, possession of marijuana and possession and sale of a controlled substance.
“She allowed the children to be in a situation where they would be likely to be gravely injured or killed,” said Lt. Glenn Giannantonio with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, in a story on NBCSanDiego.com. “That’s basically what the charges are for.”
Behrens’ children, sixteen-month-old Harley Bradford and her 2-year-old brother, Jason Bradford Jr., were discovered lying face down in the pool at a home on May 13. Behrens reportedly had been sleeping while visiting a friend at the house. When she woke up, she discovered her children unresponsive in the water. Both toddlers died a short time later.
Behrens raised suspicion when she and a friend drove the children to a firehouse instead of calling 911. Emergency personnel rushed the unconscious children to a hospital, but they could not be saved. Their deaths were ruled accidental drownings by the medical examiner’s office.
NBCSanDiego.com also reports that cocuments from the San Diego Medical Examiner say “it was like that the mother fabricated the incident location (telling detectives the drowning happened at an East County mobile home park) to divert law enforcement away from illegal activity."
The tactic ended up failing. Investigators searched the home and seized marijuana plants and growing equipment from the property. Larry Dangelo was arrested in connection with the illegal drug operation.