OCALA, Fla. - A Marion County woman was arrested on charges she ran an Ocala day care, where a child died last year, without a license.
The State Attorney’s Office said it waited so long to file charges because they had to wait to get reports from medical examiners to determine what really went on inside the day care.
They wanted to find out if there was evidence of a homicide, but there wasn’t.
That’s why they’re only charging Kim Blanchette with a misdemeanor for running the illegal day care .
Authorities said it all came to light after a toddler in her care fell down, suffered serious head injuries and died.
Department of Children and Families spokesperson Kristi Gray said cases like this are rare, but illustrate the importance for parents to do their homework when searching for child care.
“One of the main issues is oversight by our agency to ensure that the facility is in a condition that is conducive to someone caring for children,” Gray said.
Officials said at one point in time, Blanchette was licensed and in good standing, but when she got married, her husband’s criminal record prevented her from getting a new license.
That’s when officials said she started operating the day care illegally.
“She watched my grandchild and there were no problems with her, this could happen with anyone,” said Blanchette’s neighbor, Jeff Jones. “I feel for her and I feel bad that it happened. I know it eats her up every day.”
Blanchette moved to Citrus County after the incident.
If she’s convicted, Blanchette could face a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine.
She’ll also be prohibited from running a day care.
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