POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Tampa International Airport police captured a Polk County woman suspected of killing her one-year-old son.
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, Rashesh Patel, came home on Thursday to discover his wife, Neha Patel, 32, and their son missing.
He tried to locate her and, at one point, was contacted by a credit card company who told him his card had been used in the Ocala area. He drove an hour north to Ocala but was unsuccessful in finding his wife.
He returned to his Polk County home and contacted authorities on Thursday evening.
Early the next morning, the woman came home with the baby, Ishan, wrapped in a blanket.
Rashesh took the blanket and saw the child's lifeless body.
Judd said she told her husband, "I killed him, and I'll be dead tomorrow."
After Rashesh contacted Neha's father, she ran out of the house and drove away.
Judd said officers tracked Neha Patel's vehicle to Tampa International Airport. But then she left and filled up her car at a 7-Eleven Thursday evening.
Judd said the woman suffers from postpartum depression and has said in the past that she wanted to die in the Smoky Mountains.
Just before 7:30 Friday morning, Polk County officials notified airport police that Neha Patel, 32, had used her credit card at the TIA economy parking garage.
Patel's vehicle was seen driving into the airport's long-term parking garage just after 1:00 p.m. The woman was apprehended and and taken to an airport holding cell.
Polk County detectives interviewed Patel at the airport, where she admitted to killing the baby.
Neha told them that she "hates the baby." She told detectives that she slapped the baby twice when they were alone at home to keep him away from her, and put the baby down for a nap.
When the baby woke up, she put him in the bathtub, filled it half-full of water, and left him in there alone "for 10 minutes." When she returned to take him out of the tub, she said he was unconscious.
She then clothed the baby, and drove around, through a Publix parking lot near the home, and later to Ocala and to Tampa International Airport.
She told detectives that she knew the baby was deceased during this drive, because he was "blue" and "cold."
Her husband confronted her when she got home, demanding to know where she had gone, and what happened to the baby.
She took the child to the crib and told her husband that she had drowned the baby.
Judd said the baby had suffered "significant trauma."
He said the mother faces a first-degree murder charge.
"I can't understand how anyone could murder a baby like this," Judd said.
During Patel's first court appearance before a judge Saturday morning, bond was denied.