TAUNTON — In a heartbreaking case that has torn a Taunton family apart, a grandmother was arraigned today in District Court on child endangerment charges in the drowning of her 18-month-old granddaughter in a bathtub last year.
Nance Rivera, 52, was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and held on $2,500 bail, said Gregg Miliote, spokesman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter. A not-guilty plea was entered on Rivera’s behalf and she is slated to return to court Dec. 3, Miliote said.
Rivera, the maternal grandmother of Aylah Reed, left her granddaughter unattended in a bathtub on Oct. 21 of last year, prosecutors say. The incident happened at a home on DeWert Avenue.
Kyle Rivera, Nance Rivera’s son, said that his sister, Jocelyn Rivera, the toddler’s mother, remained angry at their mother.
“I think the sadness turned into anger and the anger turned into her wanting to have something happen to my mother,” he said.
Ybette Rivera, Nance Rivera’s sister, said Nance Rivera had made “a bad call of judgment” and called the case an “accident.”
“It’s a tragic thing that has happened to my niece, losing a child, but the anger toward my sister shouldn’t have gone this far,” she said.
Miliote, the district attorney’s spokesman, said the grandmother was giving the toddler a bath when she received a phone call and went downstairs to take the call. When she came back, she found the toddler face up in the tub, he said.
The toddler was left alone for several minutes, he said.
The toddler was rushed to Morton Hospital in Taunton and then flown by MedFlight helicopter to Boston Children’s Hospital, he said. The child remained in critical condition for about six weeks. She died on Dec. 5.
After medical examiners completed several tests to determine the cause of death, State Police filed a complaint requesting that Rivera be charged, Miliote said.
The Taunton clerk magistrate determined two weeks ago that there was probable cause for Rivera to be charged. The court then sent a summons for her arraignment, he said.Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Melissa Werthmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.