Baby dies at illegal day care facility - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Baby dies at illegal day care facility

January 27, 2004

Valdosta - A single 911 call put an end to Consuandra Ward's days of running an illegal day care operation in her home. "The nature of the call was a 6 month old female who was not breathing," said Lt. Brian Childress.

The baby was taken to South Georgia Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Investigators say there were no visible injuries, but they're still waiting on autopsy results for the exact cause of death. "Physically, I looked at the child yesterday, and it doesn't look like it initially, but it's still an active investigation," said Childress.

Back at the Wards' home, investigators heard a noise in a closet and made a shocking discovery. "We opened the closet door and found eight children hiding inside," said Childress. And even more children were hiding elsewhere. "Prior to our arrival, Mrs. Ward's husband had removed seven children from the residence and taken them to another location," said Childress.

According to Georgia law, without a day care license, you can only keep three children that are not your own in your home. "We feel like if she had complied with that law, she could've given the baby more attention, and she wouldn't have died," said Childress.

Mrs. Ward is in the Lowndes County Jail, charged with involuntary manslaughter, operating a day care without a license, and reckless conduct. Her husband, 48-year-old James Ward, is also charged with operating a day care without a license.

posted at 2:35 by ashley.harper@walb.com

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