Officials identify Jacksonville toddler who drowned in swimming pool

Mother was previously sentenced for another child's death

Official: Mom of dead toddler previously sentenced for another death

JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - The Medical Examiner's Office has released the identity of a Jacksonville toddler who drowned in a swimming pool over the weekend. According to an official, the child's mother was already sentenced for the death of another young girl almost three years ago.

Twenty-month-old Mercadiez Kohlinda Reed drowned after she somehow fell into an above ground pool at 313 Forest Grove Avenue, according to her death certificate. The incident happened just after 3 p.m. Saturday.

The child later died at Onslow Memorial Hospital. According to an official, the mother of the toddler is Amanda Reed, who has not been charged.

Reed, who used to go by the last name, Stump, was previously sentenced to three years of probation for the death of 19-month-old Sadie Gates, a child she was babysitting. According to investigators, Reed admitted to smoking marijuana before Sadie's parents dropped the toddler off at Reed's home in October 2010.

The child then wandered out of Reed's home and ended up in a drainage ditch filled with running water, where she drowned, investigators said. Reed was charged with manslaughter in Sadie's death and pleaded no contest.

Sadie's mother, Heather Gates, said the death of Reed's daughter is bringing back painful memories of her own child.

"I've just gotten my life back together and this just brings it all back," said Gates. "I know what [Reed's] going through. But this is the second time. How can you let that happen twice? I don't understand it."

But Gates said there is one thing that brings her comfort.

"[Reed's daughter] is with my baby now," Gates said. "That way, they can take care of each other."

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