Trial date set for Tassie Behrens, whose 2 kids drowned in swimming pool
Last Updated: 36 days ago
EL CAJON, Calif. - A woman whose two toddlers drowned in a swimming pool at a friend's home near Mt. Helix where a cannabis-cultivation operation was discovered will stand trial Dec. 16, along with a resident of the house, a judge ruled Thursday.
Tassie Anne Behrens, 27, and Larry Dangelo, 44, are charged with two counts of child endangerment, possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana and manufacturing of honey oil, said Deputy District Attorney Chantal De Mauregne. Honey oil is commonly known as hash oil.
Sheriff's Detective Norman Hubbert testified at a preliminary hearing earlier this month that Behrens first told him that the drownings took place at a mobile home park in Spring Valley. But when he told her deputies went to the house at 10011 Sunset Ave. rented by Dangelo, she conceded that was where the tragedy actually occurred, Hubbert said.
According to the detective, Behrens took her son, Jason Bradford Jr., 33 months old, and daughter Harley Bradford, 16 months, swimming the night of May 12. She said they all went to bed around 9 p.m., the children on a couch and she in a bedroom with Dangelo.
Hubbert said Behrens told them she saw her children on the couch when she used the restroom around 4 a.m., but four hours later, Jason came in and asked where Harley was. Behrens told the detective she fell back to sleep, and neither child was around when she woke up.
"She went out to the back patio that overlooks the back yard and saw the children face-down in the pool," Hubbert said.
She ran down screaming to the pool and pulled them out, and the children were rushed to Grossmont Hospital, where Harley was pronounced dead. Jason was transferred to Rady Children's Hospital, but he also died.
A marijuana growing operation was discovered in the basement of the residence, according to the Sheriff's Department.
Carter "Corky" Bennett, who lived in a motorhome on Dangelo's property, testified that he introduced Behrens, whom he'd known for eight or nine years, to Dangelo when she needed a place to stay and "they hit it off."
Bennett said she'd been staying at the house for about two weeks before the children drowned. He also said Dangelo played with the children and "paid attention to them."
Hubbert said Behrens told him she stayed at the residence "on-and-off" for about one week before the incident, and that they didn't know each other very well.
"She considered them girlfriend-boyfriend, but it was not official," the detective said.
The father of the toddlers, Jason Bradford, 35, is serving a 60-month prison sentence in Phoenix for conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.
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