Our Baby Was Killed at Day Care — and It Wasn’t an “Accident” Our Baby Was Killed at Day Care — and It Wasn’t an “Accident”
Shepard was an unnaturally happy and healthy 11-week-old baby boy. He would smile until something needed to be corrected. He would cry, you would fix... Our Baby Was Killed at Day Care — and It Wasn’t an “Accident”

Shepard was an unnaturally happy and healthy 11-week-old baby boy. He would smile until something needed to be corrected. He would cry, you would fix it, then he would smile again. He was a special baby to my wife and I after years of infertility, and he had a life ahead with limitless possibilities.

Which is why on April 6, 2015, our world changed forever.

We chose an in-home day-care provider in Oklahoma (where we reside) to watch Shepard. The woman was highly recommended by a friend and she would only watch teacher’s kids. This meant she would be closed during the Summers and school breaks, which was great for us because I’m a teacher.

On April 6, I left for work early and was able to kiss Shepard and Ali goodbye. I will never forget him looking over for me and smiling. Shepard had only been going to the in-home day care for five days when Ali took him on that Monday. He had his first runny nose that weekend and had woken up that morning with congestion, but he was in good spirits, so we weren’t overly worried.

Ali messaged the day-care provider about using a rock’n’play for sleeping so that Shepard could be on an incline instead of having to lie on his back. Originally she agreed, but when Ali arrived and saw what it was, she couldn’t let him sleep in it.

In fact, this childcare giver confided that she had been cited by the Department of Human Services (DHS) 10 days earlier for allowing another infant to fall asleep in a swing, and that they told her how dangerous both car seats and swings were for babies to sleep in.

On that Monday, as Ali was unpacking her diaper bag, she realized that she had forgotten the bottles so she ran back home. She was very concerned about Shepard getting sick if she were to lay him down flat for his naps. While she was home, she grabbed her Ergo 360 carrier that our childcare giver had used before so she wouldn’t have to put him down if she didn’t want to.

Ali also requested a doctor’s note for the caregiver so she would also have the option to use the rock’n’play. When Ali returned, the childcare giver reported that she had come up with a plan: she would sit the rock’n’play in front of the couch so Shepard could nap in it, so if DHS stopped by to “check on her,” she could just pick him up and answer the door with him.

This ensured she wouldn’t get in trouble. Ali, feeling confident the attention Shepard would be getting would be more than sufficient, left to go to her morning meetings and notified our childcare giver that our doctor was faxing her the note for the rock’n’play at 9:45 a.m.

At 12:51 p.m., the daycare provider called Ali and told her she needed to come quickly. The childcare giver reported that Shepard wasn’t breathing. She had called 911, and a police officer and EMTs had responded.

Ali asked her to give the phone to an EMT, and after speaking with him she knew the situation wasn’t good. Ali called me. In the middle of teaching a class I had to answer the phone to Ali saying I had to go, that Shepard wasn’t breathing.

I ran to the truck and drove way too fast to the day-care provider’s home. When I arrived, they were wheeling my son out of the house on a stretcher. They were still working on him, but told me that they had yet to get his heart going or him breathing on his own.

As I rode in the van in front of the ambulance, I had to prepare myself for life without my son and the grief that would follow. When we arrived at the hospital, as they wheeled him past me into the ER, I gave him a kiss on the forehead.

He was cold.

As they were working on our son, the attending physician came over and told us that they would try another push of epinephrine and two more rounds of CPR, and then they would have to call it.

Surrounded by doctors and nurses with looks of pity, and police officers, detectives, and DHS officials waiting to interview us, we had to say goodbye to our son, intubated on a stretcher.

Unbeknownst to us, our childcare provider had been educated by DHS for the swing violation where she was specifically counseled about safe sleep practices. The next day, DHS returned due to the serious violation, and she was reminded again of the dangers of putting a child in a swing.

It’s documented in her public file that she specifically inquired about infants napping in their car seats. DHS told her that sleeping in the car seat was a dangerous practice and would increase the chances of SIDS. She was told this just 10 days before she chose to put our child in an unbuckled car seat on the floor, swaddled, where he wiggled down until he lost his airway and suffocated to death.

He was unable to alert anyone to the terrible trouble he was in because the door was closed and there was no monitor to catch his struggle. In addition, our childcare provider was distracted by her friend who had stopped by around lunchtime so she could drop off her 2-year-old while she went and had lunch with other moms.

TWO HOURS passed before she finally checked on Shepard and found him completely blue.

The childcare provider has never been charged with any crime. Shepard’s case is still open and we’re hopeful as a family that justice will find her in this world or the next.

This wasn’t an accident.

She knew that a car seat wasn’t safe for sleep and that two hours is much too long to leave an infant behind a closed door.

Shepard’s death doesn’t have to be in vain. Unsafe sleep surfaces are a REAL danger. We’re looking to focus the attention to safe sleep standards so they can protect Oklahoma’s children from negligent decisions.

Obinna Onyia

  • Cashee

    2018-08-06 #1 Author

    That’s crazy that parents haves to go through that . Nobody should feel that pain


  • Veronda Bridges

    2018-08-06 #2 Author

    This made my heart hurt


  • Diamond

    2018-08-06 #3 Author

    This is the saddest article I’ve ever read!


  • Tenayr

    2018-08-06 #4 Author

    Sorry for your lost 😿 prayers to your family🙏🏽


  • Fansy

    2018-08-07 #5 Author

    Omg 😢 this is so sad. My condolences to you and all your loved ones😩


  • Fansy

    2018-08-07 #6 Author

    😭 this is horrible


  • Bella

    2018-08-07 #7 Author

    This is so sad that is why my baby doesn’t go to daycare


  • Lalang Egbe

    2018-08-07 #8 Author

    Omg! This is really terrible and obviously a total neglegence of the child proper care. The childcare giver deserves serious punishment!


  • Rose anne lico

    2018-08-07 #9 Author

    What a sad story i hope it will never be happened again. 😞


  • Yenii

    2018-08-07 #10 Author

    I’m so sorry for you lost… Be strong keep your head up! I would never wish this to no mom.


  • stephon doctor

    2018-08-07 #11 Author

    That’s such a sad tragedy. Parents expect to see there child(Ren) when its time to pick them up from daycare.. sorry for the loss deepest condolences.


  • raina

    2018-08-07 #12 Author

    omg this is so sad i am so sorry for your loss i can’t evem images what you are going threw


  • Vanity

    2018-08-07 #13 Author

    Lord this made my heart ache, i can’t even imagine the amount of pain this family is going thru.


  • Tea

    2018-08-07 #14 Author

    Sorry for your lost 😩


  • Tullia unique

    2018-08-07 #15 Author

    Sorry for your lost


  • Cashee

    2018-08-07 #16 Author

    That’s so sad , no mother should have to burry their child


  • Jessica

    2018-08-07 #17 Author

    That’s tragic I wouldn’t wish that on any parent


  • Jadasha Bryant

    2018-08-07 #18 Author

    Aww this is sad☹️Praying for healing


  • Tanyia

    2018-08-08 #19 Author

    This is sad no one should have to go
    Through this watch who you have your kids around


  • Clara webb

    2018-08-08 #20 Author

    This is a big reason my baby is not in daycare, the caregivers are getting way to careless


  • NaShawn

    2018-08-08 #21 Author

    So so so sad! This scares me so much for my baby! Praying for this family! ❤️


  • Emily Paige

    2018-08-08 #22 Author

    This is exactly why I’m scared to send my baby to daycare!


  • Jayda

    2018-08-08 #23 Author

    💔😫 wow ………….


  • Ebony

    2018-08-09 #24 Author

    😢😪 this saddens me . praying for the family!


  • Kadia Taylor

    2018-08-09 #25 Author

    Reasons why I pick and choose my children’s daycare wisely. RIP babyboy


  • Julitza

    2018-08-09 #26 Author

    Reasons why I don’t trust no one around my baby


  • Cheyenne

    2018-08-10 #27 Author

    prayers to this family, couldnt imagine losing my child so young after trying really hard to have a lil one, make me really appreciate my parents for the help they give me


  • N’Dea

    2018-08-18 #28 Author

    This why I don’t want my baby in anyone’s daycare 🤦🏽‍♀️


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