By Jose Patino Girona, The Tampa Tribune
The family of a woman who was arrested for child neglect on Sunday said it was a misunderstanding. The family of Linda Marie McCabe said she left her 2-year-old daughter in the garage with the garage door closed and the family pit bull as company to chase after her 16-year-old daughter who had left the home and was walking down the street.
McCabe, 40, of 7220 Ashmore Drive, was arrested Sunday and charged with child neglect. She's at the Land O' Lakes Jail with bail set at $5,000, according to jail records.
"She didn't neglect her and left her outside," said McCabe's mother, Mary Nigro.
Nigro, who was taking care of the daughter in the New Port Richey home, said the girl is healthy and in good spirits.
McCabe's mother said her daughter has cancer and is on medication. She added that she wasn't herself on Sunday, possibly from the effects of the medication.
"She wasn't in her right mind," Nigro said. "She's got cancer. She's probably taking too much medicine or something. We don't know what it is. She wasn't herself that day."
Police said they arrived at the Ashmore Drive home Sunday afternoon after getting a call of a disturbance. The police officer could hear a child crying from inside the garage.
The garage door was broken, so the officer was able to get into the garage through an unlocked front door to the house. Inside, he found the 2-year-old girl sweating profusely. The temperature inside the garage about 3:20 p.m. was 105 degrees, according to a police report.
A 4-year-old pit bull also was inside the garage, tied to a chair. Police took the toddler inside the otherwise empty home.
Police called McCabe the child's caregiver, but the family said Monday that she's the mother. Nigro said she's very caring and loving toward her daughter.
Police said McCabe appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and had slurred speech, a report states.
After being read her legal rights, McCabe told police she had taken three Oxycodone pills, a Xanax and a Soma pill. She acknowledged leaving the toddler alone but said she left her in the house and not in the garage.