MARYLAND

Bristow daycare death leads to two arrests

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Two women were charged with child endangerment in the case of a 3-month-old baby who died after being found unconscious in a daycare center in Bristow Thursday afternoon.

Mirna Mendez (left) Yolanda Larin (right) are charged related to the death. Photo credit: Prince William County Police

Prince William County Police charged daycare providers Yolanda Gracelia Larin, 50, of Manassas and Mirna Mendez-Vasquez, 42, of Woodbridge on Thursday following the death reported in the daycare in Bristow. Both women are charged with five counts of child endangerment.

The child, now identified as Teagan Sample, was found unconscious in the daycare and then later died in the hospital. An autopsy revealed no signs of foul play, officials said.

Officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to ABC7 News Friday that a detainer had been issued on Mendez-Valdez.

On Friday, the family of the victim released the following brief statement:

"The family would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers. This is a very difficult time for us, and we ask that you give us privacy, and allow us to grieve in peace."

Authorities say it appears that the daycare was unlicensed and operating at the residence with other children present. An investigation has shown that only two providers were present during the incident. A total of 23 children—from newborns to children up to four years old—were at the residence when police and detectives arrived.

"You're dealing with children not properly being supervised," Prince William County Police spokesman Ofc. Jonathan Perok said. "Your span of control - two adults for 23 kids - is extremely low.

"It was a ticking time bomb."

Five of the children, not including Sample, were less than 12 months old. The daycare has since been shut down. The children that were in the daycare have since been released to their parents or guardians.

The man who lives next door to the daycare center, Garcia Doores, says he feared the worst about what was going on. However, he never told anyone about his concern.

"I knew it was not licensed," Doores said. "I don't get involved in other people's business, but I knew it was going to happen sooner or later."

In the preliminary investigation, no foul play has been determined, Perok said.

Three mothers who talked with ABC7 say the woman who owns the daycare center is in Peru visiting her ailing father. They say several assistants were running it in her absence.

The county Friday has cited the owners of the daycare for allegedly running an unlicensed daycare and posted a cease and desist order.

A woman who asked ABC7 not to reveal her identity and others say the owner said the day care was licensed, and it seemed to be a well-run place.

Monhana Torres says she’s taken her son to the in-home daycare for more than two years.

"I didn't find out until I picked up my child and saw all the police, she said. “I was shocked, and then the next reaction was I felt really sad for the child and the family, and then I felt sorry for the daycare, because they're very nice ladies, and they basically raised my child."

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