Lufkin man gets 7 years in prison for probation violation, daughter’s drowning

3-year-old girl was found at the bottom of Motel 6 pool

Lufkin man gets 7 years in prison for probation violation, daughter’s drowning
Source: Angelina County Jail

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin man is sentenced to seven years in prison after a plea hearing Wednesday in connection to the death of this 3-year-old daughter.

Rondarius Smith’s daughter, Arianna Smith, died last march after she was found at the bottom of a Motel 6 pool.

Smith was initially charged with second-degree felony injury to a child with serious bodily injury. That charge was changed to criminally negligent homicide, for which he’ll serve 18 months in prison. The remaining 5 and a half years of his sentence are for a probation violation.

Angelina County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Stroud said the charge for which Smith was on probation is not related to his daughter’s death. Smith was on probation for assault family violence.

“He was on probation for that and as a result of this offense [criminal negligent homicide] a motion to revoke that probation was filed and the range on punishment there, it’s a 3rd degree felony, was 2 to 10 years and so he sentenced to 7 years by the court for the 3rd degree felony,” Stroud said.

PREVIOUS STORY: A Lufkin man is due in court Wednesday afternoon in connection to the drowning death of his 3-year-old daughter.

Rondarius Smith is charged with second-degree felony injury to a child with serious bodily injury. The charges stem from the March 20, 2018 drowning death of Arianna Smith. The child was found at the bottom of a Motel 6 pool.

Wednesday’s plea hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m.

According to the arrest affidavit, Smith recklessly caused serious bodily injury to Arianna because he failed to adequately secure the motel room to prevent her from leaving and failed to supervise her “after staying up all night using drugs and alcohol.”

According to the affidavit, outside surveillance video from Motel 6 shows Arianna left room 111 at about 4:35 p.m. on March 20, and that she ran down the sidewalk before she returned to the room at 4:36 p.m. About a minute later, she ran out again and headed toward the pool entrance.

In the video, Arianna opened the gate without any difficulty and climbed down the ladder into the deep end of the pool, according to the affidavit. She got out again and went to the shallow end of the pool. However, she moved back into the deeper water and started to struggle.

Eventually, Arianna went underwater and didn’t make it back to the surface, the affidavit stated.

"Arianna remains underwater as people walk by and do lawn maintenance around the pool area without appearing to notice her at the bottom of the pool," the affidavit stated.

Seven minutes after Arianna went under, two people entered the pool and noticed her. They pulled her out of the water, and another bystander started doing CPR, the affidavit stated.

Arianna died the next day after being flown to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

The medical report stated that Arianna died of cardiac arrest that resulted from her drowning, the affidavit stated.

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