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Dying Too Young: Letha Slate

Oklahoman Modified: March 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm •  Published: March 25, 2009
Name: Letha Slate

Age: 6 months

Place of residence: Duncan

Died: March 27, 2006

What happened: Letha drowned after her mother left her unattended in the bathtub. Mother Patricia Campbell put Letha in a bath seat and left to nap. Father John Slate returned home during his lunch break about 45 minutes later to find Letha unresponsive. Letha survived for three days in the hospital. Campbell pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in 2007. She was sentenced to four years in prison.

Other: “No matter what kind of day I was having, no matter how down or upset I might be, I could always count on coming home and seeing Letha's smile,” father John Slate said. “That smile always brightened my day." After Letha's death, her father began a campaign to change the wording of Oklahoma's child neglect laws to allow for tougher prosecution of parents whose actions cause death. Gov. Brad Henry signed “The Letha Kay Louise Slate Act" in 2007.

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