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July 3, 2022

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Vancouver woman sentenced to 3 years in daughter’s drowning

Baby, 5 months, left unattended in bath, died 2 days later

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver woman was sentenced last week to three years in prison in the 2020 drowning death of her 5-month-old daughter, who was left unattended in a bathtub.

Amanda Marie LaFrancis, 30, pleaded guilty Feb. 25 to second-degree domestic violence manslaughter stemming from the March 28, 2020, incident. The baby died two days later after being taken off life support, according to court documents.

LaFrancis originally faced first-degree manslaughter and fourth-degree assault, both domestic violence-related. She received a sentence above the standard sentencing range of 21 to 27 months, and must undergo a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, court records show.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, LaFrancis called 911 to report that her baby wasn’t breathing after being left unattended in the bathtub. She told the dispatcher she put her daughter in the bath, went to her bedroom to grab something and fell asleep.

The baby regained a pulse and was taken to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, but she was critically ill and taken off life support March 30, 2020, the affidavit states.

LaFrancis reportedly told police “she’s had a rough two weeks and was stressed out.” She put her daughter in her baby bath chair inside the bathtub. She then went to her room to grab towels, sat down and fell asleep. She said was unsure how long she was sleeping when she suddenly awoke, ran to the bathroom and found her baby facedown in the overfilled tub, according to court records.

She later said she didn’t think the baby had been in the tub for more than an hour. According to different witnesses, there were also inconsistencies in her account of what happened, court records show.

Another child in the residence told police she found the baby in the bathtub and woke up LaFrancis, the affidavit says.

A Child Protective Services investigation found LaFrancis’ treatment of her baby was negligent, and her other children were removed from the home, court records state.

Investigators later learned that as LaFrancis was leaving the hospital, she gave a friend methamphetamine to hold for her. Other friends said LaFrancis had been awake for four days and was under the influence when the baby was placed in the bathtub, the affidavit says.

Another friend said she was caring for the baby a few days prior. At that time, LaFrancis apparently told her friend she didn’t want to be a mom anymore. When the friend offered to foster the baby, LaFrancis became frustrated and picked up the child March 27, 2020. The same friend said she saw LaFrancis smoking methamphetamine via video chat the night before the drowning, according to court records.

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