Could more state oversight prevented child's heat death?
BATON ROUGE- Tonight there are serious questions about why a woman was still running a daycare when her license was revoked last year by the State of Louisiana.
Shelia Newman was arrested after a child at her daycare died from environmental exposure after she was left in a hot van Friday. The child, 22-month-old Angel Green, was pronounced dead at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner, autopsy results revealed her skin started to slip and had blisters similar to a sunburn.
It's unclear how long she was left in the van, but her internal core temperature was 108 degrees when she was checked by medical personnel at Our Lady of the Lake.
The Investigative Unit uncovered, Shelia Newman had her daycare license revoked by the state last April for not having an adequate staff to child ratio. Last September, she signed a consent order in court where she agreed not to operate a daycare. Instead, she sold the daycare she once owned, and opened a new unlicensed one on Prescott Road where Angel Green was killed.
However, our investgation revealed that there is little oversight once a day care is closed. Inspectors are not sent back out to check and see if the owners are still running a day care according to the state.
Angel Green's mother was trying to make sense out of her daughter's death. Nothing could soothe her sorrow.
"They called me and said something happened to Angel," Joy Green said. "She passed out playing outside and threw up."
However, that was not what happened at all, according to investigators. Instead, that was a story made up after the day care's owner, Shelia Newman told her co-worker April Wright to lie to investigators according to arrest records.
Warrants show it's unclear how long Green was inside the van. However, it was another worker that rushed her to a nearby fire station.
Green fought back tears as she geared up to do something no mother should have to.
"I have to go to the coroner and get her body," Green said, "I want to hold her one last time."
Newman remains locked up on a $120,000 bond for negligent homicide and obstruction of justice charges. Wright is also locked up on a $50,000 bond for negligent homicide.
In October, the Department of Education began monitoring and licensing day cares. Prior to that the Department of Children and Family Services licensed them. Since October, three day cares have had their licenses revoked by the state. Two out of three are located in the Baton Rouge area. Kidz Life Christian Academy in Zachary and Pierson's Brilliant Minds in Baton Rouge were shut down. A third day care, Wee Wisdom in Slidell was also closed.
A fundraising page has been set up for the family to help with funeral expenses. You can contribute to that fund by clicking here.
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