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Hillsborough Co. mother charged with aggravated manslaughter after son dies in Gibsonton creek

"She chose to drink and get high over the safety of her child."
Posted at 8:12 AM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 17:37:29-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Hillsborough County mother is facing charges after her son died a in Gibsonton creek.

Tabatha Long, 28, was arrested and charged with the aggravated manslaughter of a child after her 9-year-old son, Bentley Long, drowned, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Chronister said Long's son died on July 31 after drowning in a Gibsonton creek.

Hillsborough Co. mother facing charges in son's death, deputies say | News Conference

RELATED: 9-year-old boy dies after being pulled from Gibsonton creek

Long, according to Chronister, told deputies that her son went into the water without her permission and that he could swim but wasn't a strong swimmer. However, deputies later learned that Long lied and despite knowing her son couldn't swim she put him on her back and waked into the deep water with a strong current.

Several hours after Bentley drowned, blood tests reveled Long had a .07 BAC, and was also under the influence of marijuana.

"This mother, someone who should have had the utmost care and responsibility for her child, essentially had a complete disregard for his well being," Chronister said. "She chose to drink and get high over the safety of her child. This combination would certainly impair anyone's decision-making ability.

Long was arrested at her home on Thursday, September 26 and booked into Orient Road Jail.

"Although Bentley can no longer speak, we, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, will be his voice, and today, we make sure the person responsible for his death is held accountable," Chronister said.