Mother to be charged with manslaughter for baby's drowning

BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- The Benton County Prosecutor's Office has decided to charge a Benton City mother with 2nd degree manslaughter for the death of her 1-year-old daughter.

Back in November, investigators say Wendi Finkbeiner-Setzer left her baby in the bathtub while she worked on the computer.

Court documents obtained by Action News reveal that the woman's 18-year-old son came home, checked on the girls in the tub and found the baby face-down.

The tub had filled with 10-12 inches of water, according to the documents. Officials suspect the 2-year-old, who was also in the tub, may have turned on the faucet.

"Police noted that water had apparently overflowed from the bathtub because the floor of the bathroom was wet, throw rugs in the bathroom were sopping wet and clothing by the tub was wet," according to the documents.

Finkbeiner-Setzer told investigators she had not been out of the bathroom for more than five minutes.

1-year-old Piper Finkbeiner was determined braindead and taken off life support one week later at Seattle's Children's Hospital.

Here's the full news release from the Benton County Sheriff's Office:

On November 5, 2012 at about 1930 hours, deputies from the Benton County Sheriff's Office responded to the Kadlec Medical Center where a one year old child was being treated for symptoms of drowning.

Deputies learned that the mother of the child, Wendi M. Finkbeiner-Setzer (10/8/73) had put her one year old daughter, along with her two year old daughter, into a bathtub of water and then left them alone to work on the computer.

Ms. Finkbeiner-Setzer's teenage son stopped by the bathroom to check on the girls after about five minutes and discovered the one year old child, face down in the water and not breathing.

Upon discovery of the baby, an ambulance was called which subsequently transported her to the Kadlec Medical Center. After arriving at Kadlec, the baby was then transferred to Seattle Children's Hospital where she was later declared dead.

After the conclusion of the investigation, the case was forwarded to the Benton County Prosecutor's Office for review. The Prosecutor's Office has decided to charge the mother, Ms. Finkbeiner-Setzer with Manslaughter in the second degree.