Prosecutor announces charges in Speedway daycare infant death

(WISH Photo)

MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Four months after the death of a 10-month old girl, the owner of a Speedway day care and a caregiver have been charged with neglect.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced those charges Wednesday in connection to the infant that died after being found unresponsive at a Speedway daycare on April 6.

Jacqueline Murray, the owner of the daycare and Karen Tharpe, an employee, were both charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Both women are not in custody at this time.

Court documents allege that on that afternoon Murray left the daycare facility to go pick up other children. That left Karen Tharpe as the only person there responsible for the care of 36 children.

“The fundemental allegation here is that it’s thoroughly inappropriate to leave that many children in the care of one person,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry told reporters during a news conference.

Tharpe told police that she placed Taliah Brigham, who was 10 months old at the time, in a car seat and partially restrained her, according to court documents. She later told police that after checking on her periodically, she left the child unattended for about five minutes. When she returned, she told police that she found the child was unresponsive.
She said that she removed the child from the car seat, slapped her on the back but the child did not vomit the formula she had just consumed.

Taliah Brigham was then taken to Riley Hospital for Children where she later died.

Back in April, a spokeswoman for the state’s Family and Social Services Administration told I-Team 8 that based on the child’s age there should have been one caregiver for every four children present. The day care, Miracles and Blessings Daycare Ministry, has been closed since April 20, according to FSSA, the agency that asked the operator to “cease and desist” from following the death of a child.

“I certainly would anticipate that every parent who would bring their child to a daycare center – any day care – would be appalled to find out that one person was left in charge of 36 children,” Curry said.

A spokeswoman for Curry’s office said that Tharpe has an attorney and had agreed to turn herself into authorities. No one answered the door at a home listed in court documents as being connected to Tharpe. The same was true at an address listed for Murray. No one answered the door there. An arrest warrant has been issued for Murray.

Tharpe will be processed but was issued a summons to appear in court on August 22.

Taliah’s father, Troyel Brigham, told I-Team 8 during an interview Wednesday that he would have a hard time criticizing those who cared for his daughter, however, he said, he is seeking justice and believes that proper protocols “were not followed,” he said.

“To be honest it really has been diffcult. Every day, I have to hear about it. The problem is not just not being able to see her or hold her, the main issue is that I know it will be forever enduring,” Brigham told I-Team 8’s Bennett Haeberle.

Brigham went on to say that he is hoping those responsible will learn from their actions.

“I hope that whatever happens to them that they have time to think about what they could have done differently,” he said. “We are just trying to make sure that our daughter has the kind of justice that she deserves given that there was a crime that was committed.”

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