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Babysitter sentenced to four years probation after twin toddlers drowned in her swimming pool


Babysitter is sentenced to four years probation for criminally negligent homicide after twin toddlers drowned in her swimming pool when she left them unsupervised

  • Jennifer Salley, 37, was babysitting one-year-old twins Elijah and Elyssa Orejuela at her Tennessee home in July 2018
  • She left the pair unsupervised in her pool, before later discovering them floating unconscious in the deep end
  • Elyssa died at the scene, while Elijah passed away in hospital after being taken off life support
  • Salley, who has now relocated to Texas, has now been sentenced to four years probation  

Jennifer Salley, 37, has been sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the drowning deaths of twin toddlers

Jennifer Salley, 37, has been sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the drowning deaths of twin toddlers

A babysitter has been sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the drowning deaths of twin toddlers. 

Jennifer Salley, 37, was minding Elijah and Elyssa Orejuela at her Knoxville, Tennessee home back in July 2018 when she left them unsupervised in her pool. 

She later discovered the pair unconscious in the deep end of the pool and called 911. 

Elyssa was pronounced dead at the scene, while her brother Elijah died two days later in hospital. 

At the time of the incident, Salley operated a daycare center out of her home – but she had been ordered to cease large-scale operations due to multiple complaints leveled against her. 

According to Knox News, Salley had allegedly accepted pain pills as payment for her child-minding duties on multiple occasions. Some parents had also complained that there was a strong smell of feces throughout her home.  

Salley did also not have custody of her own children at the time of the twins’ tragic drowning. 

Elijah and Elyssa Orejuela were left unsupervised in Salley's swimming pool in July 2018

Elijah and Elyssa Orejuela were left unsupervised in Salley’s swimming pool in July 2018

The swimming pool st Salley's home is pictured. It is unclear what she was doing at the time she left the twins unsupervised in the pool

The swimming pool st Salley’s home is pictured. It is unclear what she was doing at the time she left the twins unsupervised in the pool 

Elijah and Elyssa’s parents released a statement following Salley’s sentencing, which read in part: ‘There is no punishment for Jennifer Salley that could or would ever equal the suffering our family will endure the rest of our lives due to her criminal conduct’.

‘No amount of jail time would turn back time. It wouldn’t bring Elyssa back. It wouldn’t bring Elijah back. It would not bring their laughs back.’ 

In a victim impact statement, the pair recalled arriving at Salley’s home to find emergency response crews desperately trying to save their children.  

‘The trail of destruction Salley left is unfathomable. From the horrors of arriving on the scene and seeing (first responders) frantically perform CPR on our babies to our older sons walking into an ER room and watching their mother cradle their dead sister’s body…those images don’t disappear. The flashbacks and nightmares…do not go away.’ 

Elyssa and Elijah are pictured in a Facebook photo with their mother, Amelia, a short time before their deaths

Elyssa and Elijah are pictured in a Facebook photo with their mother, Amelia, a short time before their deaths 

‘Our love for Elyssa and Elijah will remain unbounded and unending,’ the parents wrote. ‘

‘The true joy we experienced as their parents is impossible to put into words. We cannot explain to the Court or to anyone the impact their loss will always have on our family.’

Salley has since left Tennessee and relocated to Texas.  

Salley (pictured) has since left Tennessee and relocated to Texas

Salley (pictured) has since left Tennessee and relocated to Texas

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