Neha Patel of Lakeland was charged in Polk County this week with first-degree murder related to the death of her 1-year-old son, Ishan. Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators say that Patel slapped the one-year old on Thursday and then purposefully left him alone to drown in a bathtub half full of water at their home.
They claim that, when she returned 10 minutes later, he was unconscious and she declined to perform CPR.
Patel reportedly told investigators she was home alone with her son on Thursday. She allegedly told them that she slapped him because she hated the child and wanted to discourage him from coming close to her. After he took a nap, she put him in the bathtub, which was half full of water, and left him alone. She returned to the bathroom later and found the child unconscious.
Patel then dressed the child and drove to the parking lot of a nearby supermarket, then returned home. She then drove to Ocala with her son and then to Tampa International Airport, according to the sheriff’s office. She told detectives she knew her son was dead while she was driving with him because he was “blue” and “cold.”
Patel’s husband Rasesh Patel called police Thursday evening to report his wife and son missing, saying she suffered from depression and hadn’t been taking her medication. She returned home in the early morning hours of Friday and was confronted by her husband. She then fled, driving to Tampa International Airport again, where she was arrested.
Investigators are looking into whether Patel was suffering from post-partum depression. She told deputies she “hated” her baby since the day he was born and blamed him for her “state of mind.” Post-partum depression, which is a chemical, hormonal imbalance, can be moderate to severe shortly after giving birth. It affects 10 to 15 percent of women. Symptoms include negative feelings about the baby, irritability and anxiety.