The Miami mother who left her 6-year-old daughter inside a burning apartment — saying she mistakenly believed the child was dead — pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of child neglect.
In a case that drew worldwide media attention, Erica Rosello accepted 30 months of probation geared toward substance abusers. No conviction will show on the 33-year-old mother’s criminal history.
The little girl, Grace, was rescued by firefighters and survived the blaze after her mother fled from the burning building. She is now in the custody of her grandmother.
As part of the plea deal, Rosello must wear a bracelet that alerts authorities if she drinks alcohol. For now, Rosello has only supervised visits with Grace, although she hopes to eventually be reunited with her daughter.
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“Justice means fairness and this deal is fair for both sides,” her lawyers, Christopher DeCoste and Tara Kawass, said in a statement. “The goal of this deal is to reunite mother and daughter under the safest conditions. This is what all involved want, especially the young girl who really misses and needs her mother”
In February, Rosello ran out of the Versailles Gardens Condominiums at Flagler Street and 94th Avenue, just before 8 p.m. Firefighters found the little girl trapped inside unit 104. She was taken to a hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.
A neighbor told police that Rosello fled the building as smoke billowed and flames engulfed the apartments. She later called her mother to check on little Grace, and was convinced to come to the hospital and cooperate with investigators.
At the time of the blaze, Rosello was on probation for a drunk-driving charge in Broward County. On Thursday, she pleaded guilty to child neglect with no great bodily harm.
Her attorneys have insisted that Rosello, during the chaotic and smoke-filled scene, heard her daughter’s cries stop and believed the girl was dead before fleeing the building.
The case of a mother seemingly abandoning her daughter to a fiery death went viral, appearing in news outlets such as the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and People.com, and national television shows like Inside Edition and Dr. Drew.