2 former day care workers charged after investigation into infant's death

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Two former workers at a north Charlotte day care have been charged with child neglect. They are accused of sleeping on the job and not checking children for hours.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police first started investigating Chesterbrook Academy off Mallard Creek Road last June after a 4-month-old died of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome.

That investigation exposed a number of problems happening inside the facility.

Stephanie Johnson and Shanita Wright were arrested Wednesday night on charges of contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a juvenile.

CMPD said four infants were victims of Johnson's and Wright's negligent care.

A Chesterbrook Academy spokesperson said Stephanie Johnson and Shanita Wright are no longer employed with the day care. Johnson left June 2013. Wright left in January. 

According to an autopsy report, the infant was put down for a nap on his stomach, which is a direct violation of North Carolina law and a dangerous position to have a child in under 1 years old. He was later found unresponsive in the crib and died.
 
Police said the two didn't cause his death, but were negligent in their care.

After months of investigating, police found Johnson and Wright were rough with infants, fell asleep on the job and failed to do routine checks.

As of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Donnie Reid, a father of two, said the day care hadn't notified parents about the arrests or the investigation.
 
"It's a pretty reputable school. I've never had a complaint. I've never had a problem," said Reid. "I never imagined that something like would be going on."

Eyewitness News uncovered a state report where inspectors backed up police findings. Among seven listed violations, the report said a staff member covered an infant's face with a wash cloth while sleeping and failed to routinely check on sleeping babies.

Kathleen Shaffer, a spokesperson for Chesterbrook Academy, sent Eyewitness News this statement that reads:

"Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts continue to remain with the family since the tragic loss of one of our children in June of 2013. The safety and well-being of our children are our highest priorities, and we take very seriously our obligation to comply with all childcare licensing regulations as outlined by the State of North Carolina. While we have not been provided with any information regarding the recent arrests, we can confirm that the two women involved are no longer under our employ.”

Channel 9 has uncovered a state report where inspectors outline the alleged neglect. You can view it here.

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