Parents of Florida toddler found in pond behind Sanford home denied bond

Two parents were arrested after their 3-year-old son died after being pulled from a pond, Sanford police said. 

Barbara Ruiz and Lester Ortiz have each been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the drowning death. 

Around 3:14 p.m. on Saturday, Sanford police said they responded to a report of a missing who was diagnosed with Autism at the Crosby at Towne Center apartments. The child's father told police his son went missing from the home and was last seen 30 minutes prior, police said.  

The boy's mother told police at 12:40 p.m. she was in the bathroom in their apartment while their son was in the living room. She said she heard the sound of a door open and close and asked her teen daughter to check the front door, arrest records show. The teen didn't realize the child had left the home.  Soon after, the child's parents began searching for him.

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Pictured from left to right: Barbara Ruiz and Lester Ortiz (Photos Seminole County Sheriff's Office)

The parents told police their son had gone missing at least three times before and on two occasions – was found by a neighbor and brought to their apartment complex's front office. 

Police said the family's home had a strong odor of "freshly smoked marijuana" and was "in a state of disarray."

Around 3:33 p.m., officers found the child in a nearby pond directly behind the parents' apartment. The toddler was taken to a hospital and pronounced deceased at 4:12 p.m.

Both appeared in court on Monday. Ruiz had a previous felony conviction of child abuse from earlier this year, and Ortiz had a previous conviction of theft. Because of these two previous convictions, the court denied bond for both based on probation violations.