O'Fallon, Mo. day care worker sentenced for leaving child alone in cold temps

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 12:09 AM

 (KMOV) – A St. Charles County day care worker accused of  leaving a two-year-old outside in below-freezing temperatures was sentenced on Wednesday.

The two-year-old was outside the O’Fallon daycare on Christmas Eve 2012 for nearly four hours when her father found her laying face-down and in the fetal position.  

"This is the worst thing you can imagine as a parent, you trust someone as a professional to care for your child and this happens, this is your worst fear," said St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar. 

Tara Branden received a suspended sentence and was placed on two-years of probation because she and another woman lost count of the children they took outside.

Lohmar did all he could to get a conviction that would stick for Branden. But instead of taking Lohmar's recommendation, Judge Norman Stiemel let her off on probation and her record was wiped clean.

"It would be my hope she would not work in daycares again, but there's no way I can guarantee that,” Lohmar said. As part of the sentence, Branden will be allowed to supervise other children in the future.

Director of the Bright Start daycare told us they can guarantee this would never happen to any other child. “Oh, absolutely there's not a chance it could possibly happen again,” said Kathy Walls.

Walls assured us Branden will not be hired back but with a clean record she could most certainly work at other facilities after her two year probationary period is over. 

Stay with News 4 and KMOV.com as we continue to follow up on the case pending against the other daycare working Erica Newton.

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