Lights & Sirens

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State closes Tacoma daycare during investigation into whether staff failed to report abuse of toddler who died last week

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on May 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
May 15, 2013 5:08 pm

The state has shut down a Tacoma day care while it investigates whether staff there failed to report child abuse, related to the death of a 3-year-old boy who was fatally beaten last week, according to the state Department of Early Learning.

A summary suspension letter was sent Tuesday to Little Lambs Children’s Center at 1122 S. Woodlawn Street, which state spokeswoman Kara Klotz said means the business must close immediately pending further investigation.

A woman who answered the phone number listed for the day care said the business was not commenting on the closure at this time.

According to the letter, five workers at the day care allegedly knew a child at the center had unexplained bruises, and neglected to report them to Child Protective Services.

“State law requires them to immediately report abuse or suspected abuse,” Klotz said. “Law enforcement didn’t find any evidence that the abuse happened at the facility. There is evidence that they (the daycare workers)  may have violated the mandatory reporting law. Law enforcement referred the case to us, and we then opened our own investigation. We’re not making any conclusions at this point.”

Terric Davis, 3, died May 7 of blunt force trauma to his head and abdomen, and his death was ruled a homicide. The state’s investigation of the day care is related to that case, Klotz said.

Prosecutors charged the boyfriend of the toddler’s mother, 28-year-old Derrick Myers, with first-degree murder, and allege that he intentionally killed the boy by hitting him repeatedly in the chest and abdomen.

Myers pleaded not guilty, and the court set his bail at $2 million.

Deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen said outside court May 9 that there appeared to be no pattern of abuse.

A 2-year-old girl was removed from the home where the boy lived and placed into protective custody, according to police.

Klotz said families in need of child care can find providers via http://www.childcarenet.org/families.

Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected should call 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276)

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