Raleigh police: Man heard girls playing in tub before 3-year-old found under water

rgallagher@newsobserver.comMarch 26, 2014 

— A man who was caring for a 3-year-old girl who drowned in a bathtub March 20 told police he had heard the girl and her 2-year-old sister splashing a few minutes before he found unconscious under the water, according to a search warrant made public Wednesday.

Skye McLeod was pronounced dead after paramedics could not revive her while rushing her from 6156 Giles St. to Rex Hospital, Raleigh police Det. J.T. Nickel said in summarizing the events that afternoon. Nickel, a homicide detective, was asking a magistrate for a warrant to examine the information on a cellphone that police took from the apartment that day.

That warrant and a second one allowing a search inside and outside the apartment were requested Friday as police tried to determine whether child neglect was involved in the death.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Wednesday that Skye’s death appeared to be an accident, and no charges were expected.

Robert Shaw was watching Starkisha McLeod’s daughters while McLeod was at work, Nickel said. He said Shaw is McLeod’s boyfriend.

Shaw told police that the younger girl had a dirty diaper and that he drew a bath for her, according to Nickel’s account. Shaw said Skye then asked to get in the tub with her sister, Nickel wrote.

It was not unusual for the girls to be in the tub together, he told Nickel.

Shaw said he had checked on the girls several times and then went to the bedroom, turned on a television and sent a text to Stakisha McLeod, the account says.

“Mr. Shaw said that 3-4 minutes passed, and he could hear splashing in the tub as if the children were still playing,” Nickel wrote.

The girls had been told they only had a few minutes left in the bath, and Shaw went back to the bathroom, he told police.

The younger child was sitting up, but Skye “was lying on her back with her head to the side with the nose and mouth submerged,” Nickel said he was told.

Shaw called 911 and was on the hallway floor with Skye, following dispatchers’ instructions for reviving a drowned person, when paramedics arrived, Nickel wrote.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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