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May 8, 2009
Gary Davidson
Public Information Office

MOTHER CHARGED IN BABY’S DROWNING DEATH

A month after a baby drowned in a bathtub, the boy’s mother is facing a charge of aggravated manslaughter. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation of the April 6 death of 4-month-old Trenton Giachette inside his family’s home near Ormond Beach resulted in an arrest warrant being issued on Friday. The mother, 30-year-old Christal Giachetti, was picked up in New York early Friday evening and is being held on $150,000 bond.

Friday’s arrest came hours after a local judge issued a warrant charging Giachetti with aggravated manslaughter of a child, a 1st-degree felony. While the investigation didn’t conclude that the death was intentional, Giachetti is accused of causing her baby’s death through culpable negligence. Giachetti gave numerous accounts of the tragedy during interviews with Sheriff’s investigators, at times insisting that she had no idea what happened or how the baby ended up in the tub. However, at one point during questioning, she admitted putting the baby in the tub and then forgetting he was there. Trenton was rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where he was pronounced dead.

The subsequent investigation by the Sheriff’s Office’s Major Case Unit revealed that the baby’s mother has a history of abusing prescription pills and injecting herself with pain medication meant to be swallowed. Deputies who responded to the home on the day of Trenton’s death said Giachetti appeared to be high, her speech was slurred and she had difficulty walking. Neighbors said they noticed the same thing. When deputies went into the home on Avenue H just south of Ormond Beach, they found evidence of drug use -- a hypodermic needle and spoons with a white crystal substance on them and burn marks on the bottom, indicating that the spoons had been used to prepare drugs for injecting. Giachetti told several different versions of events to investigators. First, she said Trenton was in bed with her roommate when she left for a few minutes to walk to her mother’s house two blocks away. When she returned, Trenton was no longer in the bed. Giachetti said she frantically went looking for the baby, finding him in a tub full of water up to about an inch from the top. Later, she claimed that she woke her roommate before leaving to her mother’s and asked her to watch the baby while she was gone. The roommate, however, said that didn’t happen and she was awakened by Giachetti after the mother found the baby in the tub.

Friends and family members who were interviewed by investigators painted a picture of a mother who struggled with drug abuse and parenting. According to one of Giachetti’s cousins, Giachetti remarked about three weeks before Trenton’s death that she sometimes felt like putting the baby in the tub, turning on the water and leaving. Another cousin said Giachetti had told her that she couldn’t handle the baby and hated him. Giachetti acknowledged suffering from postpartum depression and said she tried to get help so she wouldn’t hurt her baby. The cousins said they would occasionally watch Trenton to give Giachetti a break.

Aware that Giachetti had gone to New York to visit family, Sheriff’s investigators contacted New York authorities Friday afternoon after obtaining the warrant. Acting on information from the Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police picked up Giachetti at about 6 p.m. at a relative’s house in Guilford. She will be held at the Chenango County Correctional Facility in Norwich, N.Y. pending her extradition back to Florida.

Update - May 18, 20009
Christal Giachetti has been extradited from New York and brought back to Volusia County, where she was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach Monday afternoon on a warrant charging her with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Giachetti is being held on $150,000 bond.

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