PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach Police are investigating the death of a child, while family members mourn her loss.
Officials said the little girl suffered what they called horrific brain trauma.
Joy Saint just turned two years old on November 7th.
Around 12:30 a.m. November 14th, beach police received a call about an unresponsive child at the 10x Living complex off Back Beach Road.
According to an arrest affidavit, Joy’s mother, 24-year old Winter Robbins told her boyfriend Andrew Joseph Vandergriff to wake Joy from her nap and change her diaper.
Vandergriff came back to Robbins in the shower and said the child was having trouble breathing. They also claim she had a seizure.
Paramedics took Joy to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, where doctors said she suffered a life-threatening brain injury.
Joy was life-flighted to Shands hospital in Gainesville where she died later that night.
Joy’s uncle, Nathan Saint, said the family barely made it in time.
“We went over to Gainesville and said our final goodbyes to her before they let her go,” Saint said.
Vandergriff fled the scene. Police found him a few hours later, arresting him on an active warrant for burglary and dealing in stolen property.
According to Robbins’ arrest affidavit later that night on November 14 officials executed a search warrant for this same apartment at 10x Living. Investigators say they found several meth pipes, bongs, and what Vandergriff called meth residue inside the bathroom.
Robbins allegedly confessed to smoking meth in the bathroom just before waking up to feed the baby.
They say she also admitted to routinely leaving the child alone while they bought or used drugs.
Robbins is being held in the Bay County Jail on a $100-thousand bond for child neglect, tampering with evidence, and providing false information during an investigation.
Neither she nor Vandergriff are directly charged in the child’s death.
Joy’s uncle said he is devastated by this situation. He said Joy lived up to her name and he cherishes every moment spent with her. He wants to make people more aware of similar circumstances.
“If you have family out there that you haven’t gotten in touch with, just talk to them, send them a message and let them know that you love them,” Saint said.
Saint started a GoFundMe account to pay for the child’s funeral.
Panama City Beach Police were not available to comment on the investigation