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West Miami-Dade mother in baby death suffers depression, lawyer says

A West Miami-Dade woman accused of leaving her baby to die in a sweltering car will remain jailed. Her lawyer said Monday that she suffers from depression associated with the child’s birth.

Police say Catalina Bruno last week left 11-month-old Bryan Osceola unattended inside a Chevrolet Impala outside her West Miami-Dade home, alongside her purse and a case of beer.

After her father realized the baby was in the car, rescuers found the child and measured his core temperature to be 109 degrees, according to police.

Bruno was diagnosed with the postpartum depression nine weeks after Bryan’s birth last year, lawyer Lonnie Richardson told a judge Monday. But Bruno had stopped taking the medication after her pills ran out, he said.

In jail, Bruno is “in crisis” and needs a mental health evaluation, he said.

“I’m talking to her and I’m seeing someone who is a shell of a human being,” Richardson told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen. “She’s very sick and she needs help.”

The judge, however, declined to order a taxpayer-funded mental health evaluation after a prosecutor pointed out that Bruno does not appear to lack money to hire her own doctor.

“She has the resources to hire these unbelievably talented lawyers,” prosecutor Suzanne von Paulus told the judge, a nod to Richardson and co-counsel Frank Gaviria.

At the time of the baby’s death, Bruno had been out of jail on bond on a drunk-driving charge after police found her passed out in her car in November, Bryan in the car with his head wedged between two seats.

Ruiz-Cohen ruled Bruno should remain behind bars, saying there is “no reasonable bond that would ensure the safety of the community.”

Bruno is charged with aggravated manslaughter. Investigators are still trying to figure out where Bruno, with the child in tow, was for the four hours before returning home and leaving the child in the car.