Mother of Woman Who Left Daughter, 6, Inside Burning Home Insists 'She's Not a Monster'
The mother of a Florida woman accused of leaving her 6-year-old daughter behind in an apartment fire is speaking out.
"My daughter is not a monster," Angelica Tabio told INSIDE EDITION.
Erica Rosello was charged with one count of child neglect with no great bodily harm, a 3rd degree felony, following the fire in February.
Rosello was cooking French fries for her daughter, Grace, at their Miami condo when suddenly, the oil ignited.
"She said it happened so fast," Tabio said. "It just caught on fire. She tried using a bottle of water but it made it worse. Next thing, you know she said couldn’t see my granddaughter."
As the fire quickly spread, Rosello said she could hear her daughter screaming.
“In her heart and in her mind she thought she was burning. When she didn't hear her voice anymore she thought she was dead,” Tabio said. “She just took off running in the street and panicked.”
Firefighters raced to the scene and found Grace unconscious but alive.
The child was revived at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital but her mother was nowhere to be found. She had not only left her daughter behind, she had also fled the scene.
Hours later, she called her mom and told her she thought Grace had perished in the fire.
“She was screaming and crying,” Tabio said. “She wanted to kill herself because her daughter is not alive. She cannot see herself living without her daughter.”
Once Rosello and Tabio discovered Grace was alive, they went to the hospital. Rosello was arrested.
After pleading not guilty, the court ordered that she have no contact with her daughter and the little girl was placed in the care of her grandmother.
Tabio says her daughter was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following abuse when she was younger.
Teresa Descilo of The Trauma Resolution Center in Miami says the disorder could have affected Rosello’s judgment the night of the fire.
“People who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to panic, are more likely to draw a wrong conclusion,” Descilo said.
Grace's status remains in limbo but the family says she really misses her mom. The court has granted Rosello supervised visitation with her daughter.
“She loves Grace with all her heart and soul,” Tabio said.