21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by cabanasalon
Patch Instagram photo by cabanasalon

Police: Child, 3, Left Alone Outside Before Death

A report released by Alpharetta police indicates Ms. Janna's Daycare owner Janna Thompson left Thomas Stephens, 3, alone outside before he accidentally hanged himself Tuesday morning.

Police: Child, 3, Left Alone Outside Before Death
An incident report released by the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety is shedding some light onto the apparent strangulation death of a three-year-old toddler at a residential daycare.

According to the report released by the agency, officers found Janna Thompson, owner of Ms. Janna's Daycare, performing CPR on Thomas Stephens, 3, of Roswell. 

Thomas was found not breathing and unconscious at the daycare around 9:54 a.m. Tuesday, July 8.

Thomas died by strangulation on a piece of twine attached to a slide at the daycare,  according to WSB-TV.

Thompson told the responding officer she did not know "where he got the string" that was found around his neck. 

Thompson also told officers that she left Thomas "outside by himself for a few minutes while she took another child inside for some discipline," the incident report states.

Thomas was rushed to North Fulton Hospital where he died Wednesday evening. 

Alpharetta police launched its investigation into the death on Thursday. 

Alpharetta Department of Public Safety Spokesperson George Gordon told WSB it appears the case is an "absolute tragedy." 

Gordon noted it appears the child may have placed his head inside the loop of twine while playing on the slide. 

The daycare, located at 145 Shady Grove Lane, has been issued an Order for Intended Emergency Closure of a Family Day Care Home by the  Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, or DECAL.

Reg Griffin, spokesperson with DECAL, said these orders are used by the agency when there's been a death of a child "that was not medically anticipated." 

"In this incident, DECAL found serious rule violations contributed to the death of a child," he said in a prepared statement.

It's not the first rule violations issued by the state. 

Records show DECAL inspectors during a licensing study visit in January cited the center, which has been up and running in the same location for 25 years, for safety violations around its playground. 

Specifically, hazards such as a wheel barrow located against a fence, an unraveled water house, excessive tree limbs and pine cones were observed throughout the outdoor play area. Two protruding nails to the right of a wooden ladder on the wooden climber were also cited. 

While the case appears to be an accident, the investigation remains active.

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