Mom Pleads Not Guilty in Kids’ Drowning

By Rory Devine and Christina London
|  Monday, Sep 23, 2013  |  Updated 5:24 PM PDT
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2 Toddlers Drown in Backyard Pool

Tassie Behrens was arraigned via video on Monday in El Cajon court.

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La Mesa Mom Arrested in Tots' Drownings

La Mesa mother Tassie Behrens has been arrested in connection with the May 13 drownings of her two children found unconscious in a backyard swimming pool. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports.

2 Toddlers Drown in Backyard Pool

Investigators will present evidence to the District Attorney's office after two toddlers drowned in a La Mesa pool.
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A San Diego mom was arraigned Monday in the drowning deaths of her two children.

Tassie Behrens, 27, pleaded not guilty to all counts, including felony child endangerment and drug charges.

2-year-old Jason Bradford, Jr. and 16-month-old Harley Bradford drowned May 13 in a pool at a home in unincorporated La Mesa. Instead of calling 911, Behrens and a friend drove the children to a fire station 15 minutes away.

Deputy District Attorney Chantal De Mauregne explained why Behrens was charged with child endangerment instead of manslaughter: 

“We’ve reviewed every single possible document and piece of evidence that there is to review to make an appropriate charging decision," De Mauregne said. "And certainly, it’s a very sad and tragic situation. But the charges filed against her, those are the ones we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

According to investigators, Behrens lied about where the children died to cover up a marijuana growing operation inside the La Mesa home.

Larry Dangelo, 44, was arrested on drug charges. Child cruelty charges were later added. Deangelo is free on bail.

Behrens was arrested last week. She remains at Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility on $500,000 bail.
 

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