CALL 6: State orders child care to stop illegal operation following infant's death

4-month-old was sleeping unsafely, sources say
Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 16:02:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has ordered an Indianapolis child care to stop operating illegally after the death of a 4-month-old boy. 

FSSA issued the cease and desist order to Mischa Bennett of Elmonte Court on February 20. It accuses her of caring for 11 children without the proper license.

In Indiana, you need a license to operate a child care home if you care for six or more children unrelated to the child care provider.

The order was issued following the death of a 4-month-old boy on February 16. The child was found unresponsive inside Bennett's home and later died at the hospital. 

The 4-month-old was enrolled at the Live Laugh Love Learn registered child care ministry at 7440 Michigan Road, sources told Call 6 Investigates. Those same sources also said the baby was sleeping on his stomach with blankets on the bottom mattress of a bunk bed when he died. 

According to court records, Bennett has a criminal history of drugs, prostitution, and theft. She is also not qualified to work in child care. 

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

James was charged with neglect resulting in bodily injury last year when prosecutors say a 11-year-old child intentionally hurt a 1-year-old at Live Laugh Love and Learn’s East 38th Street location.

Lashawna Payne, the 1-year-old's mother, said day care workers initially tried to lie about her daughter’s injuries, so she demanded to see the video recording. 

On that video, Payne said she saw the boy repeatedly hitting, punching, scratching and tormenting her little girl.

FSSA decertified the 38th Street Live Laugh Love and Learn location from receiving CCDF federal vouchers on November 22.

Call 6 Investigates stopped by the Elmonte Court home, but no one came to the door.

At the East 38th Street location, workers appeared at the windows to take pictures of Call 6 Investigates but did not answer the door.

At the Michigan Road facility, a worker said no one in charge was available to speak.

“We don’t know anything about it,” said the worker when asked about the 4-month-old’s death.

It was not clear if children were present at any of the three locations Thursday.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the cause of death for the baby boy.

IMPD and the Indiana Attorney’s General’s office are also investigating.

“Due to the tragic nature of the events, this investigation is a top priority for our office,” said the Attorney General’s office in a statement to Call 6 Investigates.

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