• One-year-old died in day care that was refused a license by the state


    OCALA, Fla. - Investigators said the owner of the day care claimed the boy's death was an accident, but doctors said the boy's injuries don't match that story.

    It's a misdemeanor criminal offense to operate a day care without a license and officials said the woman was doing it for over two years.

    As hundreds gathered to say goodbye to one-year-old Ellis Padgett, investigators in Ocala continued to probe his death.

    The child suffered a fatal injury under the watch of Kim Blanchette at her unlicensed home day care in Ocala.

    Blanchette's husband Oliver told WFTV that his wife was letting the dog out when the child died.

    She told investigators that Ellis tumbled off a chair Friday.

    But doctors reported to deputies that the story is inconsistent with the child's injuries.

    The Florida Department of Children and Families told WFTV that the day care was looking after five children, illegally for two and a half years.

    "This is a very egregious offense," said Carrie Hoeppner, with the DCF.

    "How can you make sure they're not going to open the doors to more children?" Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo asked Hoeppner.

    "With injunctions," she said.

    At one time, Blanchette had been running a completely legal operation.

    In 2009 she married her husband, whose criminal convictions raised concerns.

    In 2010 a court ruled the day care's doors had to be closed. But within 30 days of this ruling, DCF said, it was back up and running again.

    Since 1993 Oliver Blanchette has been arrested five times statewide.

    Three convictions disqualified him from being inside a licensed day care. Those convictions include grand theft, in 1993, and robbery convictions in 1997 and 1998.

    In 1994 he was arrested on charges of child abuse. Coral Springs police were unable to tell DiLorenzo why the charges in that case were ultimately dropped.

    DCF's attorneys are reviewing the case before requesting that charges be filed for the unlicensed center.

    According to DCF, workers will also be doing spot checks to make sure it doesn't open again.

    The Padgett family has set up the Ellis Reed Padgett foundation to help pay for the boy's funeral costs and medical expenses not covered by insurance. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank.

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    One-year-old died in day care that was refused a license by the state