CALL 6: No criminal charges in baby's day care death

CALL 6: No criminal charges in baby's day care death
Posted at 1:20 PM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 13:20:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to file criminal charges in the death of a 5-month-old baby at a suspected illegal day care.

Kyle Davis-Ferguson was found not breathing on February 16 inside an unlicensed child care home on Elmonte Court. He later died at a hospital.

Kyle died from positional asphyxia, which is a form of suffocation. Sources tell Call 6 Investigates Kyle was in an unsafe sleep environment on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed.

Mischa Bennett, a convicted felon, was watching Kyle and about nine other children at her home on Elmonte Court on February 16, according to documents filed by the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office did not have enough evidence to move forward with criminal charges against Bennett or others associated with the child care operation.

“After significant work over several weeks with the Department of Child Services, through interviews and re-interviews with family members who had children present, and after review of the circumstances of the matter by several staff members of this office, we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges in this matter,” said Michael Leffler, a spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Baby Kyle’s mother, Latrice Davis, released a statement through her attorney Reginald Bishop expressing disappointment in the decision not to pursue criminal charges.

“Baby Kyle is a vulnerable, helpless child who should receive the most excellent and responsible care possible,” read the attorney’s statement. “The decision by the prosecutor falls extremely short of obtaining justice for Baby Kyle.  His family will continue to fight to hold those accountable for his death to the maximum penalties possible under Indiana law.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s office filed civil court documents to stop the suspected illegal home child care operation.

RELATED | Police: 5-month old boy's death appears accidental | State orders child care to stop illegal operation after infant's death

A court hearing is scheduled for April 20.

Bennett does not have a license to operate a child care home, according to the state.

In Indiana, you need a license to operate a child care home if you care for six or more children who are not related to you.

Mischa Bennett is roommates with Ashley James, the president of Live Laugh Love and Learn Child registered child care ministry, according to the state.

Bennett had been unable to work at the day care on East 38th Street because of her criminal history of drugs, prostitution, and theft.

On January 23, 2016, Ashley James told the state Family and Social Services Administration that Bennett was no longer an employee at the ministry, records show.

Just over a year later, James is now accused of using Bennett to watch children in their home.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office has now filed legal paperwork to stop Bennett from caring for children, and to prevent James from operating an illegal child care out of the Elmonte Court home.

“Their continued operation will increase the likelihood of injury or death of an infant or child under their care as a result of noncompliance,” read the filed complaint. “Finally, the public interest will be served by protecting Indiana children from the continued violations of Indiana child care laws by (James and Bennett).”

The AG’s complaint does not ask the court to stop James from operating at her two other locations, East 38th Street and 7440 Michigan Road.

However, both locations are decertified from receiving CCDF federal vouchers, according to FSSA.

Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney stopped by all three of the day care sites. The workers took pictures of Kenney, but no one would open the door for an interview.

Live Laugh Love and Learn Director Ashley James is still facing criminal charges in connection with a separate child care incident.