Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Day care provider cleared in child's death

A local day care owner has been cleared of charges related to the death of a 3-year-old girl in 2009. The incident happened when workers at a Baton Rouge care facility accidentally left a 3-year-old child inside a van for about six hours outside the facility. Temperatures in the vehicle reportedly reached excessive temperatures.

The girl's mother, who also has a 7-year-old son, said she had come to peace with the incident, which she believes was truly accidental. The boy, who was a 4-year-old at the time of the accident, had told his mother that the day care provider was not to blame for the situation. The woman accused of homicide in the case had been devastated after the accident, according to her attorney. The mother of the deceased girl has decided to forgive the woman for the occurrence.

Prosecutors said the charges were unlikely to stick because the woman was not with the girl at the time of her death. Even the judge said that it was improbable that the prosecutors could prove that the woman was negligent or intentionally vicious during the incident.

The woman's attorney was clearly skilled, because two other people in the case were charged with negligent homicide, but they chose to plead guilty. Those two have received five year negligent homicide prison terms, which have been suspended pending good behavior. They have also been put on probation for a decade, and they must each complete 10,000 hours of community service in the local area. Those two were also required to compensate the family for funeral costs.

Prosecutors said the woman who owned the daycare was not wholly responsible for the criminal actions of her employees. As a result, they discharged the counts against her. The girl's family, along with other community members, believes that justice was served since the woman was not punished.

Source: The Advocate, "Charge dropped against day-care center owners in 2009 death," Joe Gyan Jr., October 16, 2012

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