PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – A Tampa attorney was taken into custody by deputies on Saturday after she left two girls — ages 3 and 7 — unsupervised just feet from the shoreline, during which time the younger girl wandered into the surf alone, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Patricia Anne Bronson, 41, of Clearwater, is facing felony child neglect charges after she reportedly left the toddler and a 7-year-old girl alone at Upham Beach Park in St. Pete Beach for 30 to 45 minutes on Saturday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
When bystanders alerted law enforcement authorities about the unattended children, the older girl told them her little sister was in waist-deep water where she was quickly rescued.
Bronson, a lawyer in Tampa, reportedly acknowledged she was caring for the girls. After dropping them off on the beach she left to park her car, the news outlet reported.
It is unclear if Bronson is related to the children or simply watching them for a relative or acquaintance since she was listed as “caregiver” on police records.
Bronson is facing charges, which include two counts of neglect of a child without great bodily harm, a third degree felony, and possession of contraband (vape pen found by jail staff). She was booked at the Pinellas County Jail, the New York Post reported.
The attorney was later released on $15,000 bail. She declined to comment when reached by the Tampa Bay Times.
In 2022, Bronson was arrested in Hillsborough County on a DUI charge. She later pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving, a second-degree misdemeanor, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Bronson’s employer is White & Case LLP, an international law firm with a location in Tampa, according to the arrest report. The Florida Bar also lists Bronson as a lawyer for White & Case LLP.