Mom charged with manslaughter in death of 9-year-old Warwick girl


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick mom already facing a child neglect charge has now been indicted for manslaughter in connection with the death of her adopted daughter earlier this year.

In January, 9-year-old Zahnae Rothgeb, who had cerebral palsy, was found unresponsive in a bathtub. Police said she had been left to play by herself in the tub for hours.

Her adoptive mother, Michele Rothgeb, was charged in connection with her death. Police said Rothgeb had adopted six children, all with special needs, from the Rhode Island Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF).

Rothgeb will be arraigned on the manslaughter charge later this month in Kent County Superior Court.

This new charge comes as the state’s Office of the Child Advocate gets ready to release a report on its’ investigation into the death of Zhanae.

Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith told Eyewitness News her report is near completion. She said she hopes to release her findings next week.

Griffith said the report will outline specific recommendations for the DCYF to make in light of Zahnae’s death.

When asked about the manslaughter charge Rothgeb is now facing, Griffith said she finds it “appropriate.”

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