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.

54 comments

  • Debra

    This Disgust me I am a Licensed Daycare Provider. And it is people like this that give other Daycare's a bad name.

    • cjmo2662

      They might've been, I wouldn't be too surprised. Why else would they have been tested? They probably reeked, otherwise drug testing would violate their rights. I'll bet she left a high-paying gig like nursing to babysit; she probably failed a drug test & lost her job is more like it.

      • no drama mama

        For your information, when any criminal charges regarding a child are suspected the state can and will drug test all and any that had direct contact with the chiild. It is standard protocol and does not indicate that they were "high" at the time or that there was a specific reason for the tests. cjmo2662 you sound like a drama queen, creating a high paying job she has been fired from for drugs, you are just spouting off random made up bullshit.

  • Wally

    If there had been complaints previous to this tragic situation, then why did the state not shut down this illegal day care operation?

    • cjmo2662

      They usually wait til something like this happens before doing anything. It's not illegal to run a daycare out of your home, but she had too many kids & unsafe conditions also. It became illegal when she didn't get licensed and continued operating after the cease & desist order, based on inspections.

    • Frustrated

      This is becuase the state only cares when the news makes a big deal out of it! If their necks are not on the line it doesn't matter they overwork and underpay employees.

  • Renee

    Why in this world did they not check this day care out to see if they were Licensed. Now a days i don`t think anyone really cares what happens to there kids if they leave them just with anyone.. There are a lot of day cares out there that are very good, if you hear that some of these day cares are being reported why would you take your child to these day cares…Just don`t understand people any more,,,,,,,,,

  • Sarah

    Parents, you can always request they complete a drug screening before you start allowing them to care for your child. I know Meijer sells home drug tests… It's possible to find safe, loving home child care centers.

  • andrea mcintyre

    I have a in home daycare that my mother and myself run, we only care for infants /toddlers 5-2 ratio at all times and never leave them , I have all them in my sight at all times even when they sleep.I run a quailty in home daycare and this just makes me sick .I run my in home daycare under state law requirements and we take training classes, people like that make me so mad,this gives good in home daycares like myslf a bad name.

  • Cathi J

    The 5-month-old infant, who was found in a broken, collapsible crib.
    My questions start here. Was the broken collapsible crib actually collapsed and did it cause injury or the death of the infant? Was the baby in fact unsupervised while sleeping? Did the Baby have an illness or disease that was fatal and death was probable?
    Did the employees act and do immediate life saving cpr on the baby? Did anyone at the Daycare do anything to include neglect the baby to cause injury and death to the Baby? Were the care givers high or under any influence while giving care or during operating hours? I want the whole story please.

  • Kimberly

    @CathiJ. Here is the full story pay attention. They were under the influence of marijuana and an innoncent child died. What more is there? Maybe you could explain to the parent (S) of this child how their baby died. CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THEIR MUG-SHOT PHOTOS…..

    • 'Thor'

      And there will be the deniers saying that weed is "harmless" and never killed anyone. Those people are lost in space with little ties to reallity.

      • no drama mama

        i wish that you would stop acting like every person that smokes marijuana is some drug crazed lunatic. Come on. They should not have been using marijuana…period…as day care providers. Agreed. But it does not mean they were under the influence at the time just because it is in their systems. From the limited facts, it doesn't sound like more than a tragic accident. Do you, Thor, believe that if there were no marijuana in their systems that baby would still be living??

      • no drama mama

        I've noticed you rant and rave and preach and condemn every person in any article that has marijuana in their system. Did you get dumped by a hippie chick or something?You seem like you have a vendetta against pot smokers. Scared of all the legalization? I'm sure the streets will be over-run with crazies. Haven't you heard…they have had to put Colorado and Washington state under martial law!!!!

      • 'Thor'

        No mama, you made some assuptions that I will try to lift the smoke on. Not all are a crazed lunatics just like all drunks don't drive. There are way too many of each. The % of THC in their system will answer if they were using at the time or not. Colorado has passed the law without those limits in mind (stupid lawmakers, same as Andrew Cuomo passing gun control laws that also affected the police).

        Your sarcasm aside, I used to live that life, was a dealer in that life, and saw what that life did to people (30+ years ago). Friends died from that life and I almost did. Look at how great legalizing booze has turned out and you are nieve enough to think weed will be any different? Lets see CO's crime rate in two years and see how well it does, but if you use CA as a measuring stick it will not be good. There are enough crazy people out there now!

        I turn in patches when I find it in hunting activities, I would turn you in, and I would turn in a family member. I call the police about suspected houses I see or people driving I see.Do I mean to make a difference, you betcha.

      • no drama mama

        Well, it is good to know you do know of what you speak. I am sorry for assuming you were one who had never smoked marijuana. Your experiences and mine are very different. Glad you came through ok and were able to get your life to the place you are now. Sounds like you dealt with a more "hardcore" element and lifestyle. I still find your posts a little fanatical, but accept why you feel as you do.

      • 'Thor'

        Thank you for your understanding. What we did 30+ years ago is so different compared to today. The weed is much stronger, there ws no crack, none of the date rape drugs, and to be honest I never heard of wet smoking until a few years ago. I try to pick up on some of the lingo but a lot of it I don't know.What I did was hard enough that I worried about having kids. Hard to imagine crack babies, but it happens. The most infuriating thing is for someone so nieve to think it's "harmless", it's not.

      • 'Thor'

        My favorites were "tye stick" and Placidyls (pain killers). You have to be old school to know these. Placidyls came in two colors, red 500 mg and green 750 mg. They were liquid in a capsule and could be drawn out with a needle and injected. They quit making them in the 80's and pain medicine today comes in solid pill form, yes there is a reason for that.

    • sarah

      Really…thats your comment??? like seriously???? get a life instead of judging the parents whom u know NOTHING ABOUT. seriously get a life

    • gustavo

      Having marijuana in their system is not the same as being under the influence. Inactive THC stays in you system for up to 30 days after using. What fact do you have to support your claim that these people were in fact high at the time of the toddlers death? Yeah didn't think so.

      • 'Thor'

        I think most know about the 30 day thing, but the % of THC in a person's system can be found by a blood test and that % can tell you how long ago. Chronic users and casual users can also be determined.

  • Beautymom

    I'm with you Cathy, the whole story could make a huge difference. I cannot imagine losing my infant but before jumping to conclusions could it be that it would have happened even in the care of a licensed and reputable daycare? I had my Daughter in the same in home day care from the age of two until she was seven, the provider was not licensed but only watched three children and developed relationships with them like that of a grandparent or aunt would do. I would never discriminate against an in home daycare where my child is a person and not a number as you find in a lot of the larger daycare facilities. This is a very unfortunate accident and the family of this infant and the everyone involved will be in my prayers.

  • Tia

    The parents who took there child or children to this daycare had to know she was not a licensed day care and I am sorry but you should know what you are getting into. My guess is that the parents knew this was not a license day care and it was cheaper for them to make that choice to send their children to this particalar day care. But its sad to hear of a child's death! May God be with you all!

    • cjmo2662

      Children have died in licensed day care centers, too. In the case of these people, though, they were negligent on many levels, if the statements in this story are true.

    • sarah

      My child went to this daycare and yes she was a little cheaper, however I WOULD NEVER send my child where i thought there may be danger, so dont judge…as a single mother who makes too little for normal daycare and to much for help, she was very reasonable…not cheap, i also had three other co-workers who went there who said nothing but good things…when i got a bad feeling about it i removed him in a hurry, so dont knock those of us trying to make a living for the children we love.

  • Guest

    This may have happened, but there are explanation to things like this as well, there is always sudden infant death syndrome. That happens ever now and then. Feel so bad for the parents.

  • Clayton

    I don't think day cares have any place in society, but if people want to take their kids to contract God know what disease that is fine with me. I don't see what is wrong with baby sitters. Why does the state need to charge babysitters who then pass the charge along to the parents who take their kids to those places. If they can get to the truth and avoid all the sensationalism I think they will find it was SIDS. People die all the time and so do kids, stop trying to make it out to be something it is not by laying blame. If you don't want strangers to neglect your kids take care of them yourself.

    • Sarah

      And in your world, babysitters can't carry a disease??? Even with SIDS, the pack-and-play (yes, it was specifically named in other articles) was BROKEN. You don't put a baby in a broken crib. EVER. Also, this article and the issue is more about the fact that they were neglectful and they were breaking laws. Not so much about anything else.

      • Clayton

        They can, but daycare isn't somebody taking care of a few kids. They are giant child neglect factories that facilitate and breed disease. There is no need for law, parents should be responsible for where they take their kids. They shouldn't just assume that they can leave their kid some place and they will be okay. If the parents left their kids with some dirt bags i have no sympathy for them. If they knew they were not dirt bags then it was an accident. Simple as that.

    • 'Thor'

      Those are called "regulations" some state some federal, but ever increasing. Do you know what federal regulations say you MUST DO if you break a curly lightbulb in your home? You need to or it's a felony (breaking regulations/federal law). This month has seen the passage of over 3.000 just for Obamacare and some involve your kids.

      • Clayton

        If people took responsibility for their own actions 90% of regulations would not be needed. I don't they are needed anyway I think people should just suffer for their poor choices. Enforce laws against violent crime and people who steal. What other laws do you need?

      • Clayton

        You make choices that you think prohibit you from caring for your children or you have made choices that prohibit you from taking care of your kids. You can raise kids on near minimum wage with one working parent. If you do not have 2 parents ether one died, you got knocked up by a scumbag, or you refuse to work out your differences. I fail to see how you could not have prevented the 2nd two situations. There are numerous of non profits and faith based groups that would help people who are willing to help themselves. Have you tried asking family for help. I know mine would do nearly anything for me if I ditched my pride and asked. I take respectability for my actions and I expect everyone else to do the same. If you don't you are no better than an animal in my opinion.

    • patricia

      It was not SIDS clueless H e was left unattended for a long period of time i know this to be a fact i am his cousin and was helping his grandma care for him and his sister he could roll over but it took him a long time to do it at least 45 minutes and he could only hold him self up on his arms a few minutes . and no blame till we get the final results. anyone that had any part in this happening will have to live with what they did .Not all people are born rich i guess like you people have to work there for sitters are needed.If the state was investigating them then every parent that took there kids there should of know.

  • SLM987

    How many fails in the system happened for a baby to die? I know the family of the 8 month old in the initial complaint, and they reported the injuries to their baby to CPS, Police, Atty General, and filed a Lawsuit. No arrest warrant was signed off on because it was the first reported incident. Any person in their right mind that saw the pics of the injuries woudn't have thought twice about locking her up and throwing away the key. But I guess the solution was to take away her license, which didn't affect her at all because she kept operating. How did nothing happen Feb.4th with the police followed up and found her STILL operating and STILL in unsafe conditions??? And how are these people STILL not in jail???
    So sad for the baby & family,

  • Nick F.

    I am the father of the 8 month old that was injured back in Sept. 2011 at this daycare. My wife and I never took our daughter back to this daycare after this incident and immediately filed a police report with the Carmel Police Dept. We also contacted CPS, filed a compliant with the attorney generals office and filed a civil lawsuit. They did an investigation but no arrests were made and they still continued to operate their daycare. The big question is why wasn't this daycare shut down before a child died?? What does it take the death of a child to finally shut down a daycare? Why haven't they been arrested yet?

    • SLM987

      It's completely disgusting Nick. The injuries to your baby were appalling and combined with everything they found during the investigations it's completely unbelievable this was able to happen. Not arresting because it was the first incident was assinine, one incident is too many.

    • guest

      first of all sorry to hear of the injuries to your child. I hope he/she is ok now. May I ask were the bites from a human or animal, adult or another child?

    • PATRICIA

      the city only acts like they care and do something when it starts making them look bad.The state has different rules for everyone parents can not have heat and use electric heaters and no hot water no way to cook and bath but that's OK cause there the parents but a foster parent has to have everything and no criminal records at all same for day cares it looks like the bleach broken crib space heaters all kinds of reports don't matter till it makes the city look bad. CPS. AND ALL THE OTHERS SUCK THEY DONT CARE ABOUT KIDS AT ALL

  • careprovider

    If she would have been a licensed provider she could have applied for the Indiana's crib grant and replaced her old beds. Drug tests are only required once for a licensed provider. Maybe they should require random test those licensed. I don't understand her web page, she seems to run a licensed home daycare according to it. I am thankful for our new beds that Indiana has provided for my licensed home daycare. I am very sad that she puts us to shame.

    • Sarah

      Even without a license, I would still request random drug screenings. Nothing to hide, no worries, right? If my provider refused, we'd have an issue.

      • Anonymous

        I am also friends with the family whose daughter received SEVERAL bite marks while attending this daycare. She wasn’t just bitten once, she had bruises and bite marks all over her body. It was all under very suspicious circumstances between Stacey and her daughter. Throughout the investigation, many other issues came about which should have , in my opinion, been more than enough to shut the day care down!!! The fact that she NEGLECTED to keep a child safe who was supposed to be under her care and now there has been a death should be enough to get her ass thrown in jail!! This whole thing outrages me!!!!!!

  • Nick F.

    The injuries our daughter suffered back in Sept. 2012 were bite marks from another child, not an animal. I have pictures. She had several bite marks on her left arm that left red marks for MONTHS….. bite marks on her neck/back area and scratches on her face that we’re bleeding. Stacey Cox actually called us and said our daughter might be having an allergic reaction to something, but once we picked her up and saw all the obvious bite marks and we took her to the doctor immediately to confirm our suspicion and contacted the police right away!

    • SLM987

      People get arrested for leaving a baby in a hot car. Yet children left unattended in a basement with space heaters and bleach within reach get nothing? What is wrong here?
      Do you think if you were at home and left your baby in the basement for hours and didnt check on her and she came out with multiple bleeding bite marks they wouldnt charge YOU with neglect or worse? WTF is wrong here?

  • Bill

    Stuff like this happens in licensed Foster care too. The State is an unfit parent but they are still in business. But they have money and power to stay in business. Our money.

  • Nate C

    I am friends with the parents of the 5 month old infant who died and believe that they need to file a lawsuit against Stacey Cox. She needs to pay for the damage she has caused to my friends because now my boy JT wont get to see his son grow up.

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