Toddler's deadly fall at Marion day care under investigation
Marion County deputies are investigating the suspicious death of toddler at an unlicensed day care.
According to the incident report, the day care operator told investigators the child fell off a chair and hit his head during nap time on March 23.
The babysitter said the students were lying down for nap, except 1-year-old Ellis Padgett. As the babysitter opened the back door of the day care to let a puppy out, she turned around and saw Padgett standing up on a plastic toddler chair. Before she could tell him to get down, she said the child fell straight back in a stiff position and knocked himself unconscious.
The babysitter said the child was still breathing, but not moving or responding to commands.
The child was flown to Shands Hospital in Gainesville where he was pronounced brain dead. He died a few days later.
Doctors at Shands said the child's injuries were inconsistent with the story provided by the babysitter.
The day care operator applied for a license, but was denied about a month because her husband failed a background check. The operator has agreed to stop operating the day care at this time. She was caring for at least five other children.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident and charges are pending.