Trigger Warning: Child death
Dejoynay M. Ferguson, 19, has been charged with killing a four-month-old baby girl at Little People Child Development Center, a daycare facility, in Bear, Delaware. Surveillance video shows Ferguson picking up the baby by the front of her shirt and placing her on a changing table. She’s then seen putting her hands over the infant’s face for more than three minutes, according to court documents.
After Ferguson, a resident of New Castle, Delaware, removed her hands from the baby's face, the infant was "unresponsive and motionless." She then proceeded to put the baby in a crib, police said. "After approximately 20 minutes Ferguson advised the owner of the facility that the victim was unresponsive at which time a call was made to 911," State Police Master Cpl. Michael Austin said in a statement.
Initially, Ferguson told police a story that was inconsistent with what appeared on the surveillance video. Later, however, she admitted to investigators that she had grabbed the infant by the shirt because she was "fussy" and wouldn't stop crying. State Police said the time of death was approximately at 10:30 am.
An infant died at a Bear child care center Thursday morning, according to Delaware State Police. https://t.co/iwbhk1FnHg— Delaware Online (@delawareonline) September 6, 2019
The Little People Child Development Center is one of three locations operated by the owners, with other sites in Christiana and New Castle. The Delaware Office of Childcare Licensing has suspended the center’s license indefinitely.
Joseph Smack, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, said there were no "noncompliance issues" noted when the center was inspected in May. Ferguson, as well as other members of the staff, had passed the required background checks, he added.
According to the state's website, the daycare center has reported one "facility injury" in 2019, 2018 and 2016, though it is unclear what a "facility injury" means, and if there were children involved. Court records show that Ferguson was assigned to the "infant room," which is where she picked the baby up from the floor.
Dejoynay M. Ferguson, 19, an employee at Little People Child Development Center in Bear, Del., allegedly suffocated a baby, then put the 4-month-old girl back in the crib and told the facility's owner. https://t.co/3nkYcY8fWw— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) September 6, 2019
Ferguson has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held at Baylor Women's Correctional Institution. Her Facebook profile states that she graduated from P.S. DuPont Middle School in 2013 and was later enrolled at Howard High School of Technology, where she participated in the school's Legal Support Services career program.
Parents are advised to do their homework before selecting a daycare center. Experts suggest that you get recommendations from other parents and your pediatrician and check the state regulatory agency. It is also important to thoroughly screen centers and check their references. Before making a final decision, drop by unannounced to get a sense of how the center functions. If the center doesn't allow unscheduled visits, you may want to reconsider.