Former Warwick woman pleads to manslaughter and child neglect; sentencing date scheduled

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a former Warwick woman pleaded to manslaughter and child neglect charges in Kent County Superior Court stemming from her actions that caused the death of 9-year-old Zhanae Rothgeb at her home in Warwick in 2019.

 

Michelle Rothgeb (age 58) entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of manslaughter, eight counts of child cruelty and neglect, and one count of animal cruelty at a hearing today before Superior Court Justice Daniel A. Procaccini.

 

Rothgeb is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in Providence County Superior Court on November 3, 2021.

 

Had the case proceeded to a trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on January 3, 2019, Rothgeb was negligent in the care of her 9-year-old child, Zhanae Rothgeb, causing her death at a home on Oakland Beach Avenue in Warwick.

 

Prior to that day, Rothgeb served as the caretaker to eight adopted children between the ages of two and 15, nearly all with special needs, including Zhanae, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

 

On January 3, 2019, members of the Warwick Police Department and emergency medical personnel responded to a service call for an unresponsive child at Rothgeb’s home. When first responders arrived, they found an unresponsive Zhanae, who they rushed to Kent Hospital. Zhanae was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

 

Officers also found that Rothgeb’s home was in a derelict state, littered with garbage, food waste, used diapers, insects, and human and animal feces.

 

During the course of the investigation, the medical examiner determined that Zhanae’s death was caused by “complications of cerebral palsy, exacerbated by child neglect.” Investigators determined that Zhanae had been left in a bathtub, unattended by Rothgeb, for nearly eight hours that day.

 

Also during their investigation, law enforcement determined that Rothgeb had not cared for Zhanae, nor her other adopted children in the time leading up to Zhanae’s death. Rothgeb routinely tasked her 15-year-old adopted son to care for the rest of the children.

 

Investigators further discovered that Rothgeb had not given Zhanae her medication that was prescribed to her to prevent seizures.

 

Rothgeb also owned a dog that investigators found in an emaciated state that ultimately had to be humanely euthanized.

 

Following officers’ response to Rothgeb’s home, the remainder of the children were placed with new caretakers by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

 

Assistant Attorney General Laura A. Nicholson of the Office of the Attorney General and Detectives Melissa Marano, Pat McGaffigan, and Sokphannareth Chea of the Warwick Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.

 

 

### 
Ninety-three-percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are linked to the Delta variant. That's according to the latest numbers from the CDC which looked at the last two weeks of July. However, the Delta strain accounts for 98-percent of the infections when looking at the region where states like Iowa and Kansas are located.       A new report shows fewer jobs were added in the U.S. than expected. Payroll processing firm ADP says 330-thousand positions were added last month, which is much fewer than the 650-thousand jobs analysts were expecting. The ADP figures come ahead of the jobs report that'll be released by the federal government on Friday.       Attorneys for former President Trump are attempting to block the release of Trump's tax records to a U.S. House committee. A motion was filed with a federal court after the Justice Department gave the go-ahead for the Treasury Department to release the documents. Trump's lawyers claim there isn't a legitimate reason for Congress to access them.       A majority of New Yorkers want Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. That's according to the results of a Marist survey which shows 59-percent of New Yorkers feel that way. Meantime, the poll results also say 32-percent think the governor should serve out the rest of his term.       There's a new service that will help out folks in trouble. Citizen, an app that notifies users about crimes and emergencies in their area, is rolling out a new service that will call 911 for those who need help. It will set users back about 20-dollars.       Guests at the upcoming Met Gala in New York must show proof they're fully vaccinated against COVID and wear masks. This follows news that all New York Fashion Week shows next month will require COVID shots too. The gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, called "America: A Lexicon of Fashion," will be held on September 13th.