A daycare employee has been cleared of all charges against her after a baby died while they were working at an unlicensed daycare in Virginia. The charges against her co-worker are also expected to be dismissed.
Mirna Mendez, 42, of Woodbridge, had faced five counts of child neglect charges, but the charges were dropped in court Tuesday after her attorney asked for a motion to strike all evidence and the judge agreed, reports News4's Julie Carey.
The judge said that Mendez was was just an employee at the daycare and had no way to change the circumstances there.
The standard for criminal neglect is very high in Virginia, requiring a showing of gross negligence or wanton disregard for safety.
Mendez, along with Yolanda Larin, 50, of Manassas, were found to be watching a total of 23 children on the day that three-month-old Teagan Sample died. The children ranged in age from newborn to four years old.
Larin was due to stand trial in February, but the charges against her will also be dropped, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Leaving court Tuesday, the parents of Teagan Sample said they were disappointed, but declined to comment further.
On March 8, the baby was found unresponsive at the daycare center where the two women were working in the 13200 block of Sapphire Ridge Place in Bristow, Va.
The women called 911and a dispatcher gave Mendez instructions to perform CPR. When authorities arrived at the home, they took Sample to an area hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
The medical examiner's report lists Sample's cause and manner of death as undetermined. The autopsy revealed no obvious signs of trauma.
Larin and Mendez were the only adults present at the daycare center. The 23 children they were watching included five younger than 12 months old.
Both women were consequently charged with five counts of child neglect, one for each of the babies.
The owners of the home and operators of the daycare, Rocio del Pilar Chavez Pacheco and Joan Carlo Barra, had left for Peru about a week prior to the baby's death.
Chavez Pacheco pleaded guilty to four felonies: two counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses for the operation the day care.
Her husband Barra, entered Alford pleas to four misdemeanors of running an unlicensed daycare, meaning he did not admit his guilt or involvement but did not want to risk what could happen at trial.
Both were sentenced to probation.