A woman threatening suicide by jumping off the Seven Mile Bridge may have killed her young child. The body of a baby boy was found later Sunday afternoon inside a freezer in a Homestead townhouse matching the address the woman gave police.
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of a suicidal woman on the Marathon span about 3 p.m. They held her down, and as they did, she said she threw her 4-month-old baby boy in the water, said Chief Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman.
She quickly recanted that statement and said the child was in Homestead, Rios said. Based on the original statement, the Coast Guard initiated a search for the child from Boot Key to Knights Key, an operation that included shoreline searches, Rios said.
The crews called off the search about 30 minutes later after the Homestead Police Department reported that the child was found on the mainland.
Miami-Dade Police Department spokeswoman Detective Robin Pinkard said in an e-mail that a boy's body was found inside a townhouse at 2482 NE Third Ct. in the Isles of Oasis subdivision in Homestead.
The woman has been identified as Paola Vargas-Ortiz, 37. Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said Vargas-Ortiz told deputies several stories about the whereabouts of her child.
Deputies wanted to know because they noticed a child safety seat and toys in the back of her car, which was parked in the parking lot of the Old Seven Mile Bridge. First she said the child was in the water. Then she told deputies the boy was with relatives. Finally, she told them he was in a freezer in her house in Homestead, Herrin said. Deputies immediately called Homestead police.
Vargas-Ortiz told deputies she ingested rat poison. Deputies loaded her into an ambulance and escorted her to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Her condition was not available.
Pinkard said no charges have been filed against anyone pending the determination of a cause of death, which has not been released. by the Miami-Dade medical examiner.