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Florida Lawyer Accused of Leaving Children on Beach After 3-Year-Old Found Alone in Surf

Florida Lawyer Left 2 Young Girls Alone on Beach
Source: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Patricia Bronson was booked on two counts of child neglect.

Oct. 16 2023, Published 11:18 a.m. ET

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A lawyer from Tampa, Florida, was arrested after she allegedly left two girls, ages 3 and 7, unattended on the beach for more than half an hour, police say.

Knewz.com reported that the younger child had wandered into the surf alone and had to be retrieved by a stranger.

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Patricia Bronson, 41, reportedly dropped off the two girls at Upham Beach on Saturday morning, October 7, and drove away, according to witnesses cited by the Tampa Bay Times.

One witness told Pinellas County sheriff's deputies she found the 3-year-old girl standing "waist-deep" in the ocean by herself. The witness said she managed to keep the two girls together safely in her care.

An arrest report says Bronson told responding sheriff's deputies at the scene that she was parking her car, and confirmed the girls were left alone. She was reportedly gone for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bronson was arrested on two counts of child neglect, a third-degree felony. While she was being booked at the Pinellas County Jail, deputies noted she was acting "nervous and fidgety," according to the Times.

During booking, deputies found Bronson was carrying a "vape pen," according to the sheriff's department, and she was additionally charged with possession of contraband, another felony charge.

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Bronson was released Sunday on $15,000 bail.

Bronson was described as the girls' "caregiver" in the arrest report, but her relation to the children was not released.

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Bronson was previously arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County in 2022 and pleaded no contest to reckless driving, the Times reports.

The Florida Bar, the licensing organization for attorneys in the state, is reportedly reviewing the events. Bronson could face suspension of her law license if she's convicted. She was previously suspended by the Bar for 90 days in 2017.

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