PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Daycare owner in Northampton County is facing charges in connection to the death of a baby that was under her care.
Last April, 3-month-old McKenna Rose Felmly died on her first day at daycare.
After a year-long investigation the grand jury recommends the daycare owner be charged with reckless endangerment of another person and endangering the welfare of a child.
“She had placed the child, the baby on its stomach to sleep with full knowledge that the sleep position was in violation of state regulations and was also a known risk of sudden unexplained infant death, said Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.
Morganelli said, in a news conference on Tuesday, Little McKenna Rose Felmly died of S.U.I.D.
Her lifeless body was found by the daycare owner. The infant was in a crib, in a backroad that has been described by some investigators as a “walk-in closet”.
Sharron Ballek was operating the daycare, “Sharron’s Daycare”, out of a home along 3rd Street in Lehigh Township.
Investigators say she had been a daycare provider for decades, since the mid-1980s.
“She is very upset by what happened to this child,” added D.A. Morganelli.
He added the daycare owner had a heart attack after the death, but feels charging her is still necessary.
An investigation found nearly a dozen safety and state daycare violations, at “Sharron’s Daycare”.
For the D.A., the charges ensure Shareon Ballek can never have a daycare again, and the D.A. hopes it sends a message to all daycare providers.
“This case should put all daycare providers on notice of their obligation to strictly follow all of the regulations promulgated by the state,” said Morganelli. “Unfortunately Sharron’s Daycare Center was laxed in that regard and a tragedy occurred.”
Sharron Ballek is expected to formally be charged later this week with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
The grand jury had the option to recommend a charge of involuntary manslaughter but, because of conflicting medical opinions, it couldn’t determine that there was enough probable cause to allege the daycare owner had a direct role in the infant’s death.