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A California mom was arrested for trying to cover up a small pot farm inside the home where her two children drowned, police said.
Tassie Behrens, 27, was collared at a local motel on Thursday, after investigators determined the La Mesa woman lied to authorities about where she found her two children submerged in water on May 13, NBC San Diego reported.
Behrens raised suspicion when she and a friend drove the children — 16-month-old Harley Bradford and her 2-year-old brother, Jason Bradford Jr. — to a firehouse instead of calling 911 after the mother said she woke up to find her kids lying facedown in a pool, the news station reported.Emergency workers rushed the unconscious children to a hospital, but they could not be saved.
The medical examiner ruled the deaths accidental, but investigators suspected foul play when they determined the mother lied about the location of the pool in which her children were found.
“It was like that the mother fabricated the incident location (telling detectives the drowning happened at an East County mobile home park) to divert law enforcement away from illegal activity,” the medical examiner’s office wrote in its report.
When police found the Sunset Ave. home where the children had actually drowned, they discovered marijuana plants and growing equipment.
Behrens’ friend, Larry Dangelo, 44, was arrested for his role in the drug operation, but cops waited for little Harley and Jason’s autopsy reports before filing charges against Behrens.
The medical examiner’s report, according to NBC San Diego, found that Behrens was asleep inside the home when her son tried to wake the woman up because he couldn’t find his sister.
But the mother went back to sleep and found both her children in the pool, which was dirty and in disrepair.
An arrest warrant was issued last week, but police had trouble tracking down the homeless woman, who often stays with friends or at cheap motels.
They found her Thursday at a Best Western in El Cajon and cuffed her on a string of charges that include felony child abuse, possession of marijuana and possession and sale of a controlled substance.“She allowed the children to be in a situation where they would likely to be gravely injured or killed,” Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said. “That’s basically what the charges are for.”