Associate Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Kenneth Hutchins listed “cocaine exposure” as a contributory cause for Ayla Cappas’ death by asphyxiation on April 16. She tested positive for cocaine. Police said Roxxanne Benales admitted to smoking crack cocaine in front of Ayla that day.
Ayla’s life lasted one month, 17 days. Benales, 31, sits in jail on a charge of aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm with a $50,000 bond.
Miami-Dade police arrested her Sunday three hours before, the arrest report says, she planned to hop a Greyhound bus back to her native Indianapolis.
That puts both of Ayla’s parents in jail, although only one related to her death. Benales’ fiancee and Ayla’s father, 35-year-old Alvaro Cappas, went to jail in Thursday’s wee hours on a battery charge after he allegedly threw Benales to the ground. Battery happens to top an alphabetical listing of the 12 crimes Cappas has been convicted of over the years.
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None were crimes against children, but Department of Children and Families Press Secretary David Frady said in an e-mail to The Herald, “Ayla’s death was deeply saddening for all of us at DCF. This family was known to the child welfare system; however, there are not any other children in the care of these two individuals at this time.”
Hutchins report stated Ayla’s “probable asphyxia” was caused by an “unsafe sleep environment (bed sharing).” Indeed, both Benales and Cappas told police after a power outage on April 15th, they swaddled Ayla and put her in bed with them. Parents who sleep with infants risk smothering the infants as they sleep. When they awoke around 2 p.m, they told police, she was dead.
The Medical Examiner placed Ayla’s time of death more than 11 hours earlier, at 2:55 a.m.