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Carmel home daycare shut down after infant’s death

stacey cox daycareAuthorities 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 on Feb. 14, 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.

On Jan. 24, officers responded to the home daycare, where a 5-month-old was found not breathing.

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

On June 28, 2013, Cox and Phillips were charged with felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter.

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HAMILTON COUNTY (November 26, 2013) – A former Carmel daycare owner was sentenced to more than two years in the death of a 5-month-old baby.

According to her attorney, Stacey Cox was sentenced to 790 days, but will get credit for 302 days already served. In addition, she’ll serve out the last year of her sentence in a work release program.

Cox was found guilty last month of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conor Tilson, who was found dead Jan. 24 in a broken crib at Cox’s unlicensed daycare. She was also found guilty of deception and operating a daycare without a license.

The boy’s parents have filed a lawsuit against Cox and the Family and Social Services Administration. They claim the FSSA were aware of issues with Cox’s daycare and should have known about the unsafe conditions.

Kirsten Phillips, Cox’s daughter, also faces charges in the case. She’s scheduled to go on trial in March.

CARMEL – Hamilton County prosecutors have filed criminal charges against two women in connection with the death of an infant at an unlicensed Carmel daycare.

Stacey Cox and Kristen Phillips are charged with felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter. In addition, Cox is charged with deception, operating a child car home without a license and unlicensed practice of nursing. The last three counts are misdemeanors.

Carmel police arrested them Friday.

On Jan. 24, 5-month-old Conor Tilson was found not breathing in a broken collapsible crib. The in-home daycare was issued a cease-and-desist order.

Police said Cox and Phillips both tested positive for marijuana later in the day.

Fox 59 learned that the Stacey Cox Child Care Center received several warnings from state investigators that it was illegal to care for more than five children without a state license. Those warnings were ignored as the facility apparently continued to break the rules for at least three months.

The Family and Social Services Administration started investigating in September after receiving complaints about a baby who came home with several bite marks. State investigators found unsafe conditions and more than five children being cared for. That is illegal for an unlicensed daycare.

Stacey Cox and Kristen Phillips

Stacey Cox (left) and Kristen Phillips (right)

A Carmel daycare involved in several state investigations will remain closed indefinitely.

Stacy Cox, the owner of the child care center, and the state, have agreed to extend a temporary restraining.

The order was put in place because officials ruled too many kids were being looked after in the home, making it an unlicensed day care.

The facility was under investigation in the death of a baby boy, who died of SIDs.

The owner and her daughter are accused of using marijuana on the day the child died.

A 5-month-old boy who was found deceased at an unlicensed daycare in Carmel, Ind. died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), confirmed the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.

The coroner stated the infant, Conor Tilson, was left on his back but was later discovered laying on front.  The boy had no signs of trauma and there was nothing to indicate the infant was abused.

SIDS is the unexpected and sudden death of a child under the age of 1.  Although an autopsy does not show the exact cause of death, a baby is more likely at risk if they sleep on their stomach.

Tilson was pronounced dead on Jan. 24 after he was found unresponsive in a broken, portable crib at Stacy Cox Child Care. That same day, Cox and her daughter Kristen Phillips, another daycare operator, tested positive for marijuana, according to police.

Fox59 learned the child care center received several warnings from state investigators that it was illegal to care for more than five children without obtaining a license.  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.

On Feb. 14, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General filed an emergency restraining order Thursday, requiring the daycare to cease operating pending a court hearing.

Cox could face up to $100 in penalties for each day she ran the daycare illegally.

Update: The scheduled hearing has been pushed back after a judge granted a continuance.

Previous story: The woman accused of running an unlicensed daycare in Carmel will be in Hamilton County Civil Court Wednesday.

A representative from the Attorney General’s office will likely seek a permanent injunction and possible financial penalties against Stacey Cox.

Cox and her daughter, Kristen Phillips, are accused of operating a daycare without a license even after warnings from the State. It’s against the law in Indiana to care for five or more children without a daycare license.

On January 24, while Cox and Phillips were working, 5-month-old Conor Tilson was found not breathing in a broken crib. The infant was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to court documents, Cox and Phillips both tested positive for marijuana that same day.

Ten days later, on a follow up visit, investigators found Cox was continuing to run her daycare with more than five children in her care and without a license. The state shut down the daycare under a cease and desist order.

Cox could face up to $100 in penalties for each day she ran the daycare illegally. She is expected to appear in court at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday.

CARMEL – A Fox59 investigation has learned that the daycare where a 5-month-old baby died in January had been operating illegally for several months.

The Hamilton County Coroner tells Fox59 that Conor Tilson died of probable Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) on Jan. 24. The child was found not breathing and unresponsive in a broken, portable crib. That same day, the daycare’s operators tested positive for marijuana.

Fox59 has learned the Stacey Cox Child Care Center received several warnings from state investigators that it was illegal to care for more than five children without a state license. Those warnings were ignored as the facility apparently continued to break the rules for at least three months.

Stacey Cox and her daughter Kristen Phillips ran the facility.

The Family and Social Services Administration started investigating in September after receiving complaints about a baby who came home with several bite marks. State investigators found unsafe conditions and more than five children being cared for. That is illegal for an unlicensed daycare.

After multiple inspections showed more than five children in the home, the FSSA issued a cease-and-desist notice to the daycare on Oct. 24.

A follow-up visit that same day found only five children in the house, so the daycare was allowed to continue operating as an unlicensed facility. That also meant Stacey Cox Child Care Center was outside state authority.

One mother who recently pulled her son out of the daycare told Fox59 Cox lied to her, saying the daycare was licensed.

“I’m thinking my son’s going to this fantastic daycare,” said Lindsay Luke. “She cares so much about the kids. I’m never worried about how many the ratio is because she’s licensed.”

For three months, Stacey Cox Child Care Center continued to operate without a license. Its website advertised room for more children in the home.

On Jan. 24, investigators responded to Conor Tilson’s death. On that day, a test revealed that Cox and Phillips were under the influence of marijuana. During two subsequent visits by an FSSA investigator in February, nobody answered the door at the home.

On Feb. 4, Carmel police sent an undercover officer posing as a mother who wanted to enroll her child. The officer said she observed unsafe conditions in the house. She also saw at least six children being cared for. The officer’s report to the state said she was told there was still room for her child to be enrolled.

Last Thursday, the state ordered an emergency closure of the daycare. The next day, the daycare’s website was still up and advertising room for three more children.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office is now on the case, working on behalf of the FSSA.

Cox will appear in Hamilton County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

A cease and desist notice now greets anyone who visits the Stacy Cox Daycare in Carmel.  However, just three weeks ago, Stacy Cox, who ran the daycare out of her home, was working with her daughter Kirsten Phillips, when a 5-month-old boy died while in their care.

“It sickens me,” said daycare customer Lindsay Duke. “Completely sickens me.”

Duke’s nearly 2-year-old son, Brysen, was at the daycare the day the boy died. In fact, she received a photo from Cox that morning, showing her son and the other children. Phillips is in the middle holding the boy who later died.

Duke said she never received a message or call about the death.

“I never got contacted to come pick [my son] up,” said Duke. “If there wasn’t a parent that ran outside and told me, I wouldn’t have known what happened for probably another five days, is when she finally contacted me.”

Duke said when Cox contacted her, she told her the baby “sort of died of SIDS…sort of.”

According to court documents, Phillips told a Department of Child Services investigator that “the infant had been found on his stomach.  She placed him in the crib for his nap, on his back, and to her knowledge, he was not yet capable of rolling himself over.”

The baby was sleeping in a collapsible crib, which investigators found to be broken.

However, that is not all. Investigators found “Cox and Phillips who were supposed to be watching the infant… were under the influence of marijuana.”

Duke said she is not surprised.

“She just had the look like she was under the influence,” said Duke. “You know, her eyes were really heavy, and it was always, ‘I’m so tired. I’m just so tired.’”

Duke said she now questions everything, including apparent bites her son suffered months ago.

“He’s had a bite mark on his chest, where there is no skin, and then he’s had bit marks on his back,” said Duke.

Duke wasn’t the only parent who grew concerned about biting.  State investigators began‪ looking into the daycare in September after a similar report of an 8-month-old baby with bite marks on her face and neck.

‪Then, the state returned to the home multiple times in October, warning Cox she needed to get a license because she cared for too many children.

Though cox never obtained a license, Duke said Cox told her and other parents that she was licensed.

“Everything on that article was a lie of what she’s told me,” said Duke.

Since the death, the Carmel Police Department sent in an undercover officer, who‪ saw two children unattended in high chairs, bleach next to the refrigerator and two space heaters, one of which was covered in a metal cage close to the couch.

An agent with the Bureau of Child Care paid a visit to make sure the daycare was finally following the rules and closed.  However, Duke still can’t help but wonder how much harm was done.

“I don’t know how long my son had to witness it,” said Duke. “I don’t know how… I mean, then you start to think so many other things like, were these bite marks caused from something else… and you don’t know. You don’t know.”

Cox and Phillips will have a civil hearing this week.  Meanwhile, Carmel police continue to investigate possible criminal charges.

The owner and operator of an unlicensed home daycare in Carmel, Ind. said it has always been a dream to care for children and open up her own daycare.

A biography of Stacey Cox on her daycare’s official website states she worked as a nurse, before leaving her career to focus on caring for children.

An emergency restraining order was filed against Cox, requiring the daycare to cease operation.  The motion comes after the death of a 5-month-old infant, who was found unresponsive in a broken, collapsible crib on Jan. 24.

Later that day, Cox and her daughter/co-worker, Kirsten Phillips, underwent a drug screen and tested positive for marijuana use, according to the probable cause affidavit.

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.

According to Cox’s bio, she states she has been a daycare owner since April 2009.

Read her biography in its entirety below:

cox daycare bio

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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