Couple charged in drowning death of 2-year-old daughter

Robert Trella and Brigitte McCarthy were charged with endangering the welfare of a child after their 2-year-old daughter drowned in a pool last August.

Robert Trella and Brigitte McCarthy were charged with endangering the welfare of a child after their 2-year-old daughter drowned in a pool last August. (1/21/16)

TOMS RIVER - The parents of a 2-year-old girl who drowned in a neighbor's pool last summer are facing criminal charges.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato announced the charges Thursday against Robert Trella and Brigitte McCarthy.

The Berkeley Township residents each face two counts of child endangerment and drug possession. The 41-year-old Trella also was charged with evidence tampering.

The prosecutor's office says the couple is being held in lieu of $200,000 bail. An after-hours call to the county public defender's office, which is representing the couple, wasn't returned.

The 2-year-old was found in the pool last August. Authorities say drugs were found in the couple's home.

Police say witnesses said the toddler was seen wandering around the neighborhood unsupervised on prior occasions, and that the couple's 9-year-old daughter often assumed care-taking responsibilities.

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