Angelina Sheriff's Office investigating drowning death

Amarie Rodriguez (Donna Sanders Jaquette)
Amarie Rodriguez (Donna Sanders Jaquette)
Ayden Bentley (Source: Facebook)
Ayden Bentley (Source: Facebook)

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Investigators with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office are looking into the tragic incident Saturday where two small children were found floating in a private pool in the 2000 block of Allentown Loop to see if there was any type of neglect involved.

One of the children, 20-month-old Amarie Rodriguez died around 5 p.m. Sunday after spending 24 hours in critical condition at Children's Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston, according to hospital officials.

"She was a good baby. She was a real happy baby," Amarie's grandmother Deanna Sanders said. "It's hard when I look at her picture."

The other child, Ayden Bentley, 2, has been upgraded from critical to good condition.

Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches said Monday that his department is taking the investigation seriously. ACSO investigators are looking into Caleb Bentley, Ayden's father, and Crystal Rodriguez, Amarie's mother.

"She just lost her baby but my daughter has a good heart," Sanders said.

Sanches said investigators have obtained a blood sample from Caleb Bentley. Although Crystal Rodriguez declined to give a sample, Sanches said they will be obtaining one from her as well.

Amarie's great aunt, Donna Sanders Jaquette, said the baby's family has been devastated by Amarie's loss. Jaquette said Amarie's mother has decided to donate her baby's organs, so that other children will have a chance to live.

"Today, they had a recipient for a liver transplant," Sander said. "Amarie was able to save another baby's life."

Relatives and friends of Ayden posted on KTRE's Facebook Page that he was moved to a regular room, ate a popsicle, and was recognizing family. Ayden is at Children's Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston.

Amarie and two-year-old Ayden Bentley were found floating in a private pool in the 2000 block of Allentown Loop in Lufkin Saturday morning, according to Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches.

Sanches said Caleb Bentley, who is Ayden's father, called 911 just before 11:00 a.m.

"The kids got out of their parents' sight and the Ayden's father, Caleb Bentley, discovered them," said Sanches. "It's undetermined how long the two children were in the pool."

Both children were taken to a local hospital then flown to Houston.

The Angelina County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as well as Child Protective Services.

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