Day care worker sentenced to 3 years

INDIANAPOLIS - A day care worker was sentenced Tuesday to three years in the Indiana Department of Correction after a 5-month-old boy died in her care.

A Hamilton County jury found Kirsten Phillips guilty of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide in the death of Conor Tilson.

Tilson died Jan. 24, 2013, at Stacey Cox Home Day Care at 421 W. Main St. in Carmel.

Tilson went down for a nap and never woke up.

Hamilton County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andre Miksha told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney he anticipated Phillips would remain in prison until the anniversary of Conor's death, in January 2015.

According to the sentencing order, Phillips will also have to serve nearly two years in Hamilton County Community Corrections.

Phillips will have to pay $168 in court costs and a Child Abuse Prevention fee of $100, and she will be placed on probation for two years, including community service.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a contributing factor to the baby's death was "an unsafe sleep environment on broken Pack and Play."

Court records said Stacey Cox and her daughter, Phillips, who put Conor down for his nap, both tested positive for marijuana.

Conor's mother, Britney Killea, told Kenney she was happy with the jury's decision to find Phillips guilty.

Tilson's parents have filed a wrongful death suit against Phillips, Cox and the Family and Social Services Administration, the state agency that regulates day cares.

A jury trial is expected in 2015.

The Stacey Cox day care was unlicensed.

"Do your homework. Check, double check, triple check," John Tilson, Conor's father, said earlier this year. "Wherever your kid is going to go, make sure they're licensed."

Conor's parents said the state should have filed a court order to shut down the facility before their son's death.

"I feel like the state should have done more, and if they had done more, maybe my son would still be alive," Tilson said. "They should be held liable. They should be accountable for their actions."

In June 2013, the Attorney General's Office announced an agreement had been reached in which Cox and Phillips agreed to a lifetime ban on providing or operating child care facility and agreed to pay $6,000 to the state in civil penalties.

Cox was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, deception and operating a child care home without a license.

She was sentenced Nov. 26, 2013, and by January 2014 had left prison and entered the work release program.

Conor's parents said they were unaware of Carefinder, the state Family and Social Services Administration website where parents can look up inspection records.

If a provider does not show up on Carefinder, they are most likely unlicensed.

When a provider operates without a license, they do not have to submit to criminal background checks, training for CPR and safe sleep, as well as drug screens.

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