Speedway, Ind. (WISH) — A Speedway daycare facility at the center of a state and police investigation has continued to operate in the days that followed the death of an infant girl, Taliah Brigham.
What’s not clear is what caused the child’s death. A worker told police she found her unresponsive in a car seat and began to perform CPR. The child later died at the hospital. The cause and manner of her death is still not known as of Friday, according to the coroner’s office.
While the Marion County Coroner’s Office reported the child was 11 months old, both authorities and the child’s obituary list her as 10 months old.
A man who identified himself as Taliah’s father on Facebook posted this to his account Friday evening:
I Appreciate Everyone Support God Bless You Just For Me Hold Back Your Negative Emotions And Let The Detectives Do There Work What’s Hidden In The Dark Will Come To Light I Love U All.”
Speedway police said they received a 911 call Wednesday that a baby at the Miracles and Blessings Daycare Ministry was not breathing.
When authorities and paramedics arrived, they discovered one daycare worker performing CPR on the child. Authorities also said there was one worker and 36 children in the facility.
It’s not clear if the staffing ratio had any effect on the child’s death, but police say it is an issue they are investigating.
“I think it’s alarming but obviously the Department of Child Services is going to be handling that part of the investigation,” said Lt. Trent Theobald with Speedway Police. “That is something that’s more their area. As a police department, we are investigating that this is a death investigation.
“It’s very concerning,” he said later.
But parents, like Gyspy Stiger, told I-Team 8 Friday that she supports the facility and its operators.
“I was just so saddened by it. With a child, it’s devastating. My thoughts go out to the family,” Stiger said.
When asked if she had any concerns about the daycare’s reported staffing ratio, she said, “It’s usually about three staff (members) in the facility with the owner. So I have never came here and it’s only been one person. That is surprising.”
Stiger and other parents who spoke to I-Team 8 but asked not to be identified have echoed similar sentiments – that while the child’s death is tragic, they support the facility and believe that it is safe to continue its operations.
“They’ve been going long enough to where I feel they are safe. Otherwise I wouldn’t have brought them back,” Stiger said, referring to her grandson and daughter who attend Miracles and Blessings Daycare Ministry.
When police arrived on Wednesday, Lt. Theobold said that the worker told authorities that she found the baby girl unconscious in a car seat. The child was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Theobold said that authorities were told Thursday morning that the child died.
When I-Team 8 attempted to interview several daycare employees, they closed the door and locked it, saying: “No,” when asked if they could comment on the situation.
Multiple calls and messages were left over the past two days. None have been returned.
The facility appeared to be open and operating on Thursday and Friday.
24-Hour News 8’s Jeff Wagner spoke to another parent who said she trusts the facility, “100 percent.”
“I really feel bad for the mom. Everyone’s concerned about, like, the workers here but the mom, she lost a child,” said a parent, who asked we conceal her identity.
Both the Family Social Services Administration and the Department of Child Services are investigating this case.
Marni Lemons, a spokeswoman for FSSA, declined to discuss specifics of this case because of the ongoing investigation. However, she did say that because the facility was part of a ministry, there is no limit on how many children it can accept. However, because the daycare accepts federal child development vouchers for low-income families, the daycare is required to follow certain staffing requirements.
In this case the facility should have had one daycare worker for every four children. Theobold said at the time police arrived, around 2 p.m. Wednesday, there were 36 children.
“It’s not that many children when I come like that,” the mother said. “When I come in the morning, come in the afternoon, there’s always three to five adults here.”
Despite the investigation, the mother won’t change which daycare watches over her child.
“I’m going to keep on bringing my son here, I don’t have any problems with them at all,” she said.
State records show that the facility had minor compliance issues when it opened in 2015. Lemons said that those were corrected a month after inspectors conducted their initial visit.