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Police investigating child's injury at Bainbridge daycare

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Officials from the Putnam County Prosecutor's office have launched an investigation at a Bainbridge childcare center where they say a 4-year-old girl was found hanging by the neck from a backyard swing set.

Prosecutor's Investigator Thomas Miller told the BannerGraphic Wednesday morning that the girl was enrolled at Down Home Preschool, located at 108 Pat Rady Way (U.S. 36) in Bainbridge. The alleged incident occurred in the childcare center's outside play area on April 12 and it was reported, by Bainbridge Police, to Miller on Monday.

Miller said an adult worker found the girl hanging from a noose, tied in a jump rope that was secured to the top of a wooden swing set approximately 6-8 feet off the ground.

"She was literally hanging in the jump rope," Miller said.

Miller said he spoke with the girl and her mother yesterday and that the girl appeared to still have broken blood vessels in her face and eyes and that lacerations from the rope on her neck are still in the process of healing.

After reviewing photographs taken of the girl following the incident, Miller said he was personally disturbed by the nature of the injuries.

"Her injuries show she was near death," Miller said.

Miller said his investigation thus far leads him to believe that no one at the facility called 911 to report the girl's injuries, nor did they fully disclose what had happened when the girl's mother came to the childcare center to pick her up that afternoon.

He said the workers only told the mother that the girl had been injured.

Miller said the mother took her daughter to Hendricks Regional Hospital in Danville where she underwent treatment. The girl, who is unable to speak due to a pre-existing condition, has not been able to tell investigators what happened, Miller said.

He said the childcare workers have been cooperative with the investigation thus far and that the facility's owner, Connie Pierce, has since disposed of all jump ropes and stepped up adult supervision in the play area.

"She is taking steps to see that this doesn't happen again," Miller said.

The BannerGraphic contacted the child care center Wednesday morning but was not able to reach Pierce for comment.

Miller said the facility remains open at this time, however, the prosecutor's office and the Putnam County Department of Child Services could jointly seek to have it shut down.

"I think that they have failed their duty as a licensed daycare provider by not calling 911 when they found a 4-year-old hanging in their backyard," Miller said.

Miller said he will complete his report and turn it over to the prosecutor.

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