Fla. Mom Accused of Killing Daughter with Special Needs While Visiting Her in Hospital

Jasmine Singletary died from massive injuries to her ribs and liver

Jessica Bortle
Jessica Bortle. Photo: Escambia County Jail

Police in Florida have arrested a 34-year-old mother, alleging she caused the injuries that killed her daughter, who has special needs, while the 14-year-old was in the hospital receiving treatment for an infection.

When Jasmine Singletary arrived at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola on July 8, her ribs and liver were fine, according to a statement from the Pensacola Police Department.

But police say the results of an autopsy showed Jasmine, who had a neuromuscular disorder, died from massive injuries to her ribs and liver — injuries allegedly sustained while she was in her hospital bed.

The statement indicates Jasmine was brought in with an infection and then admitted for treatment.

Days later, on July 13, Jasmine unexpectedly lost consciousness and stopped breathing.

Attempts were made to revive the unresponsive girl, but she was eventually pronounced dead.

Police believe that the girl's mother, Jessica Bortle, was in the room when Jasmine stopped breathing.

"The Medical Examiner indicated that the injuries were so severe that Jasmine would have died only minutes after receiving them, and that they had to have occurred while Jasmine was confined to her hospital bed," reads the statement.

Over the course of their investigation, detectives concluded that Bortle caused Jasmine's fatal injuries, and charged the Bonifay woman with manslaughter.

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KATV and NorthEscambia.com obtained a copy of Bortle's arrest report, which reportedly states she admitted to investigators she "slammed the hospital table into Singletary's abdomen and then leaned onto the table with her weight."

She allegedly told police she had become angry with Jasmine after the girl cursed at her during an argument about the girl's breaking crayons.

Jasmine's grandmother was allegedly also in the room when the the girl's injuries were sustained, and gave police a similar account of the incident as Bortle did. She faces no charges and is a witness for police.

Bortle is being represented by a public defender, but PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach her attorney. It was unclear if Bortle has entered a plea to the charge against her.

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