A 30-year-old Arcata woman pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter stemming from the October death of her 3-month-old daughter.
Rebecca Carroll, who is also known as Rebecca McPherson, was arrested Oct. 15 after her daughter, Rebelle Rose Keene, was found dead in Carroll's bed with third-degree burns covering most of her body. Police believe Carroll was intoxicated in the early morning hours of Oct. 15 and fell asleep in bed next to her daughter with a blow dryer running.
Clad in jeans and a red, white and gray flannel shirt, Carroll pleaded guilty Monday in front of Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson. She appeared out of custody alongside her attorney Greg Rael -- who tried to make it clear that the death of Carroll's child was an accident.
Rael said Carroll has been cooperating with investigators and court officials from the very beginning. ”Rebecca has, at all phases of the investigation, sought to take responsibility,” he said
Assistant Humboldt County District Attorney Kelly Neel recounted the circumstances of the charge for the court, stating it's believed Carroll returned home in the early morning hours of Oct. 15 from a night out. It's believed she showered and then got into bed with her daughter, while blow drying her hair.
”Ms. Carroll has been known to do this before,” Neel said, adding that Carroll said the sound of the blow dryer helped her sleep.
Carroll fell asleep with the blow dryer running, and Rebelle was found deceased about six hours later, according to the Humboldt County Coroner's Office.
Humboldt County Coroner Dave Parris has said it appears Rebelle went into shock as a result of the burns from the blow dryer and died. Rebelle's autopsy report states her cause of death was “thermal burns by hot air from hair dryer.”
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