MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Police responding to the death of a 3-month-old at an unlicensed home daycare discovered toddlers left in playpens all over the house with heavy shelving stacked on top of them to keep the children from “escaping,” according to court documents.
The daycare, located in the 3600 block of Cambridge Avenue in Maplewood, was operated by a 39-year-old woman.
Officers responded to the home on November 16 after a report of an infant girl in cardiac arrest. When they arrived, the daycare operator said the child rolled over onto her face and stopped breathing.
Court documents say the girl’s lips were blue and her body was “cool to the touch” when emergency responders arrived. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police said the daycare operator was “hysterical,” and the documents say when officers interviewed her for more information, they could smell alcohol on her breath.
The operator said the infant had rolled over several times that day, and she called the child’s parents.
Officers saw children in the living room, and the operator reportedly told them there was only one other child in the home. She said the child was on the second floor.
When officers had her take them to the toddler, they found the child in a playpen with a blanket on top, with a heavy plastic shelving unit on top of the blanket to keep the child from escaping, according to the documents.
The woman then told police there was another child upstairs, and officers found a boy toddler in a playpen inside a closet, below hanging clothes.
According to the documents, the woman then revealed there was another child in the basement, which police found in a similar fashion; inside a playpen with a blanket and shelving on top.
While police were detaining the operator, they heard a noise in the basement. Documents say the officers then discovered a toddler in a second room with no lights on. The boy was in a playpen covered with a blanket, with shelving and crates stacked on top.
Investigators are obtaining a sample of the daycare operator’s blood, saying they found an empty box of wine in the home.
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