INDIANAPOLIS -- The mother of a 5-month old baby who died at an illegal day care has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the child care’s operators as well as the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).
Latrice Davis filed suit in Marion County Superior Court against Live Laugh Love and Learn and employees Ashley James, Latoya Dixon, and Mischa Bennett.
Baby 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.
He was in an unsafe sleep environment on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed, according to state records.
The lawsuit accuses FSSA of knowing workers at Live Laugh Love and Learn were swiping cards for children registered for CCDF vouchers at one location, but were caring for them at another location.
Latrice Davis was told to swipe her card for CCDF vouchers at a Michigan Road location, and that her children would then be transported to a home on Elmonte Court, according to the suit.
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 mother’s lawsuit accuses the day care of knowing Bennett was disqualified from working in child care due to criminal convictions prior to Kyle’s death, but allowed Bennett to work there anyway.
The wrongful death suit alleges the day care and its workers failed to warn Davis of the unqualified staff, and failed to exercise reasonable care in the inspection, operation and maintenance of the day care.
Live Laugh Love and Learn and its employees are also accused of failing to properly supervise and protect baby Kyle while in their care, according to the suit.
Latrice Davis filed the lawsuit on July 31, records show.
FSSA does not comment on pending litigation.
Call 6 Investigates has visited all of Live Laugh Love and Learn’s locations in an attempt to get a comment, but no one has responded to inquiries.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file criminal charges in Baby Kyle’s death, stating the office did not have enough evidence.
“Baby Kyle is a vulnerable, helpless child who should receive the most excellent and responsible care possible,” read the statement from Davis’s attorney, Reginald Bishop. “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.”
A judge granted a preliminary and permanent injunction on April 20, preventing James and Bennett from operating an illegal child care home.
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 was roommates with Ashley James, the president of Live Laugh Love and Learn 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.
Live Laugh Love and Learn Director Ashley James is still facing criminal charges in connection with a separate child care incident.