Benton City mom admits role in daughter's death in tub

May 9, 2013 

— A Benton City mom admitted that she caused her 1-year-old daughter’s death last November when she left the toddler unsupervised in the bathtub with another young child.

Wendi Finkbeiner-Setzer, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree manslaughter.

Sentencing will be set in about a month.

The standard range for the crime is one year and nine months to two years and three months in state prison.

However, prosecutors reportedly will recommend a year in county jail, with the option to do the time on either work release or work crew.

Court documents show that Piper K. Finkbeiner, 1, and her 2-year-old sister were left alone in the tub Nov. 5 while their mother went into another room to work on a computer.

The water overflowed from the tub, soaking throw rugs in the bathroom and the carpet under the door, documents said.

The mom told Benton County sheriff’s deputies the kids were alone for no more than five minutes in about 10 to 12 inches of water, and questioned if the older girl might have turned on the water.

Finkbeiner-Setzer’s teen son discovered the toddler had drowned when he checked on the girls after getting home, documents said.

Piper Finkbeiner was taken off life support Nov. 12 after Seattle doctors determined she was brain dead.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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