Three Arrested in Toddler's Day Care Death - NBC Bay Area

Three Arrested in Toddler's Day Care Death

After Baby Deacon was found not breathing, his mother said staff told her he was strangled by his beads in his sleep.

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    Three Arrested in Toddler's Day Care Death
    Courtesy Danielle Morin
    Baby Deacon was taken off life support after being found unresponsive at day care, but his mother Danielle Morin is pushing investigators to dig deeper, she said Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016.

    Three Fontana day care workers have been arrested Tuesday after an investigation into the death of baby Deacon, a 1-year-old found not breathing during nap time.

    Fontana police announced the arrest of Sagan Marriott, 27, Rebecca Lutz, 29, and Deborah Jimenez, 52, on suspicion of child endangerment.

    The arrests come longer than a month after the 18-month-old was discovered unresponsive at Little Impressions Day Care, also known as Marriott Family Child Care, in the 6800 block of Royal Crest Pl. on Oct. 5. 

    Police say the exhaustive investigation led to the discovery that when Marriott and Lutz found Deacon unresponsive, rather than immediately calling 911, they called Jimenez instead. 

    They waited until Jimenez arrived before calling 911, Fontana police said.

    Fontana police also found that there were many more children at the day care than allowed by law.

    The day care is licensed by the State of California, Department of Community Care Licensing to care for no more than four infants, and six were found at the facility, in addition to 12 other children.

    "The daycare staff grossly exceeded the licensing regulations by over 4 times, endangering the lives and safety of the children under their care," Fontana police said in a press release.

    Police also said Jimenez regularly sent more children than allowed by law to the care facility, endangering the children's lives. 

    "I am so sick!" the boy's mother, Danielle Morin, wrote on her Facebook page, reacting to the news of the arrests. She said she could not immediately comment to NBC4.

    After Deacon was discovered unresponsive, he was taken to the hospital and removed from life support five days later.

    Morin told NBC4 in a previous report that the death was caused by strangulation, but the official cause of death has not been released by San Bernardino County Coroner’s office as of Tuesday.

    "This has been the darkest day of my life," Morin said in a previous report. "Deacon was a very special boy and the fact that this happened still has me in shock."

    Morin said she was told by staff that the amber beads strangled the boy, but Morin refutes these claims, saying Deacon has worn them since he was born. 

    She also doesn't believe that the beads strangled him in his sleep.

    After Deacon died, Morin said she would be donating his organs to six babies across the country "so that those moms can get their prayers answered."

    Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe for Deacon's medical expenses and the donations had exceeded $37,000. 

    Morin also went on to thank the hospital staff in a Facebook post. 

    "I want to thank Kaiser Fontana PCIU doctors and nurses. I have never ever in my life seen a healthcare team like this. They have been direct with me from the second Deacon was brought in. They have cried with me and comforted my family," she said. "I do not know how they come to work everyday but without this team I do not know if I would have had the time with my baby that I did. They have jumped through hoops for me and my baby and I can not thank them enough."