State: Daycare workers test positive for marijuana after infant found deceased in broken crib

Authorities are investigating an unlicensed child care business in Carmel, Ind. following the death of a 5-month-old infant, who was found in a broken, collapsible crib.

The Office of the Indiana Attorney General filed an emergency restraining order Thursday, requiring the daycare to cease operating pending a court hearing.

The probe centers on the Stacey Cox Child Care center, located at 421 West Main Street in Carmel, Ind., and its employees: owner Stacey Cox, her daughter Kirsten Phillips and other workers and volunteers.

carmel daycare

Stacey Cox Child Care

On Jan. 24, officers responded to the home daycare, where a 5-month-old was found not breathing. According to the probable cause affidavit, “….the infant had been found on his stomach.  Phillips stated she had placed (the infant) in the crib for his nap, she placed him on his back, and to her knowledge, he was not yet capable of rolling himself over.”

Authorities stated Cox and Phillips underwent a drug screen later that day and tested positive for marijuana use.

The State alleges Cox operated the daycare illegally and had more than five children in the home daycare.  Other health and safety issues were also cited in the complaint, including sleeping children left unattended in the home’s basement by the caregivers and space heaters and a gallon container of bleach within reach of young children.

“The facts of this case are disturbing and because of the danger, the State clearly had to act to protect other young children in the care of these individuals.

The Attorney General’s Office is working closely with our client FSSA in taking legal actions necessary to bring a halt to such violations,” Zoeller said.

According to court documents, the Department of Child Services received complaints about the daycare last year.  On Sept. 18, 2012, it was reported an infant around 8 months old “received severe bites, leaving marks on her face, neck, and left arm…”

On Oct. 1, 2012, DCS officials “observed six children sleeping in the basement…and one child sleeping on the main floor…no adults were present in the basement,” according to the probable cause.  Later that month, the unlicensed daycare was issued a notice of cease and desist.

Court documents stated an officer with the Carmel Police Department visited the daycare on Feb. 4, posing as a parent looking to enroll her infant.  The document stated the officer, “observed unsafe conditions and that the location was operating illegally with approximately six children.  Cox represented that more children could be enrolled for child care at the location.”

A week later, the officer returned to the home again.  The officer reported Phillips indicated the daycare did not take in more than five children at a time and that they hoped to move to a new locationi after their tax return arrived.

An injunction hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20.


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