Felony charges filed in infant's death at unlicensed Carmel day care

5-month-old found not breathing in broken crib

CARMEL, Ind. - Felony charges have been filed against two women in the death of an infant at a Carmel day care, alleging they placed the baby in a broken Pack and Play crib.

Stacey Cox and Kirsten Phillips each face felony charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, according to Hamilton County prosecutors.

Stacey Cox Child Care, an in-home day care at 421 West Main St., in Carmel, was issued a cease and desist order in February after a 5-month-old infant was found not breathing in a broken collapsible crib during day care hours Jan. 24.

Day care owner Cox and employee Phillips, who is Cox's daughter, were supposed to be watching the infant at the time, and both tested positive for marijuana later that day, the attorney general said.

Cox is also facing charges of deception, operating a child care home without a license and unlicensed practice of nursing.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Cox said she put 5-month-old Conor Tilson down for a nap with a blanket, but later changed her mind and said it was her daughter Phillips who put the baby down around 1 p.m.

"Surveillance video from the area of 421 West Main Street revealed that Phillips left her home at 12:20 PM on January 24, 2013," read the probable cause affidavit.

According to police, Cox denied knowing the Pack and Play crib was broken.

Court documents said the crib contained warning labels to never add soft bedding and to not use if there are any broken parts.

The probable cause also said cellphone records show Cox and Phillips spoke for 86 seconds before Cox called 911.

Cox claimed to be a nurse on her day care’s website, but she did not receive a nursing degree, according to the probable cause.

Other health and safety concerns include sleeping children left unattended in the home's basement and space heaters and a gallon of bleach on the floor within reach of young children, the state said.

Documented problems at the day care date back to September 2012.

Court records say Cox was operating her home illegally on the day Conor Tilson died, in violation of a cease and desist letter from the state.

Stacey Cox Child Care was also operating illegally, caring for more than five unrelated children at a time and accepting additional children as of earlier this month, the state said.

Cox and Phillips were booked at the Hamilton County Jail on Friday.

RTV6 contacted Cox and Phillips' attorney, Keith Hancock, who is handling the day care’s civil case.

Hancock declined comment saying he had not yet discussed the criminal charges with his clients.

A spokesman with the Attorney General's office said an agreement was reached in which Cox and Phillips agreed they operated an illegal and unlicensed day care. They agreed to never operate a day care again.

They will also pay $6,000 in civil penalties as part of the settlement.

Watch RTV6 and refresh this page for updates.

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