Deputies: 2-year-old drowns while father high on heroin

Ashley Smart charged with aggravated manslaughter of child, drug possession

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. - A 41-year-old Fleming Island man is facing aggravated manslaughter charges after his 2-year-old son drowned in a pool while the man was high on heroin, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Ashley Smart has also been charged with possession of heroin and marijuana. 

Aiden Smart was found unresponsive Tuesday morning in the family's swimming pool and was rushed by Clay County Fire Rescue to Baptist Clay in "full cardiac failure." Aiden died 10 minutes after he arrived at the hospital.

Detectives investigating the toddler's death found 0.07 grams of heroin and 2.5 grams of marijuana in Smart's home. They found five full bags and two empty bags of heroin, three needles, a tourniquet and a spoon, according to Smart's arrest report.

The arrest report said Smart's "culpable negligence" led to Aiden's death.

Deputies wouldn't say if Aiden's mother was home when the boy drowned, but News4Jax has learned she might have been at work.

Neighbors said they often saw Aiden playing in the yard without an adult nearby. One woman, who asked to be identified only as Anna, said she saw him alone many times.

“It is so heartbreaking, because again I always saw that little boy whenever I drove by coming home,” Anna said. “I would see him most of the time playing in the yard running around.”

Other neighbors said they were shocked to hear of the toddler's death.

"It's just sickening to me," Ashley Schneider said.

Family members declined to comment.

Smart is being held on $277,000 bond.

The Department of Children and Families is also investigating and released a statement Wednesday:

We are deeply saddened to learn about this child’s death. The department has initiated a child death investigation and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement. Additionally, we are providing services to help the family during this difficult time.
The Department of Children and Families had no previous contact with the deceased child.

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