On August 8, 2007, Esto, Florida, was shocked when news broke of 7-year-old Adrianna Hutto’s untimely demise, found floating lifeless in her family swimming pool. Authorities initially suspected an unfortunate accident was responsible until witness testimony pointed towards murder as a possible motive. “20/20: What AJ Saw” provides an in-depth account of events leading up to Adrianna’s untimely demise as well as the subsequent police inquiry; to gain greater insight, let’s further examine available information.
Adrianna Hutto Murder Story
Adrianna Hutto was a 7-year-old girl living with her mother and half-brother AJ in Esto, Florida. Like many children, her age, Adrianna enjoyed spending time outside and taking dips in the family pool. Known as bubbly and energetic, Adrianna treasured attention from family members and teachers, who believed her to be an outstanding student; there were no noticeable warning signs before this devastating event.
On August 8, 2007, an emergency call was placed to Esto’s 911 center reporting a suspected drowning incident at one of the local homes in Esto, Florida. Emergency responders quickly arrived on the scene to discover Adrianna motionless by the pool while her mother desperately administered chest compressions in a panic. Emergency responders airlifted Adrianna to a nearby hospital where doctors attempted to save her life; unfortunately, despite all efforts, they failed, and tragically passed away shortly afterward; postmortem analysis confirmed her cause of death as drowning.
Investigation and Arrest
Amanda Lewis, Adrianna’s mother, stated that she had just come home from her night job and was asleep when the tragedy unfolded on August 8, 2007. Adrianna and AJ decided to take a swim in their family pool that day without adult supervision; Amanda didn’t think anything of it when Adrianna removed insects from the pool before allowing the children in; shortly after that, AJ came running inside, telling Amanda his half-sister had drowned after falling in.
Amanda quickly ran to the pool, where she saw Adrianna’s life slipping away despite her desperate attempts at saving her. Acting swiftly, Amanda pulled Adrianna out of the water. She initiated CPR immediately before calling 911 for medical assistance – but unfortunately, it was too late – Amanda was left heartbroken by this loss. At the same time, the police had their doubts regarding AJ’s testimony of what he witnessed.
At age six, AJ recounted an unpleasant account in which his mother was angry with Adrianna for spraying window cleaner in the living room and disapproved of her mischievous actions by spraying window cleaner on furniture and walls in various rooms throughout their home. To discipline Adrianna for this misdeed, Amanda took her into the pool and held her underwater until Adrianna passed out unconscious. However, the police remained skeptical despite AJ’s testimony, complete with hand gestures to illustrate this event.
Law enforcement quickly conducted an intensive search of Amanda’s residence, discovering an unsightly and malodorous state in Adrianna’s bedroom. Investigation revealed that Adrianna, aged seven, with ADHD and an extremely challenging mother-to-parent, presented numerous challenges. Amanda’s coworkers reported hearing Amanda discuss harming Adrianna; Adrianna’s doctor also discovered evidence suggesting prolonged submersion into the water on Adrianna’s face.
Armed with this evidence, detectives brought Amanda in for questioning. However, she strongly denied any wrongdoing and even underwent and passed a polygraph test willingly. Unfortunately for Amanda, though, due to losing Alex to seizures at 16 months of age despite being only 17 at the time, this indicated negligence on her part and thus led them to charge Adrianna’s mother with murder.
Amanda maintained her innocence, entering a plea of not guilty before entering court. Unfortunately, the prosecution presented AJ’s sketch of Adrianna’s tragic demise as evidence against Amanda; furthermore, AJ himself testified against his mother, which led to her conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and severe child abuse in 2008. Amanda is currently serving life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and an additional 30-year sentence at Lowell C.I. Annex in Marion County, Florida.
Prosecution of Amanda E. Lewis
Amanda maintained she had nothing to do with Adrianna’s death and even consented to undergo a polygraph test before she was brought before the court. The mother of two passed the polygraph, surprising no one, but the police nonetheless chose to build their case on circumstantial evidence. So, when she was brought before a jury, Amanda argued her innocence and pleaded not guilty. But the prosecution obtained AJ’s artwork, in which Amanda is seen killing Adrianna in a rage.
The boy also testified against his mother, who was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated child abuse by the jury. Because of this, Adrianna received a life sentence in jail in 2008, coupled with an additional 30 years. Adrianna’s applications to have her conviction reversed have all been denied, therefore she continues to serve time at the Lowell C.I. Annex in Marion County, Florida.