FORT WORTH, TX — Latoya Latrice Anderson has been arrested and charged in the death of 9-month-old Dacion Steptoe Jr., who died while in her care at an unlicensed daycare.
25-year-old Latoya Latrice Anderson was charged this month for abandoning a child in her care, resulting in his death. The charge amounts to a state jail felony, and prosecutors have added a misdemeanor charge for operating a childcare without a license.
The suspect had a burgeoning illegal daycare business that at one time took in more than 45 children in her apartment. She allegedly used Facebook as a marketing tactic to advertise her daycare premises which she called ‘The Playground’.
Shockingly, Anderson had been warned not to run her daycare business not once, but twice (once in February and again in April); directives that she chose to willfully ignore.
9-year-old witnessed it all.
On July 23rd, 2015, Anderson was watching 11 children again (this time at her mother’s apartment), when the death occurred. The oldest boy in the daycare that day, a 9-year-old boy, witnessed the whole incident and said that Ms. Anderson placed Dacion on the couch face-down with a towel covering his head and body. She then asked the 9-year-old to watch over things while she left the house to get herself something to eat.
When Anderson returned, the boy said that she ate her food and watched a television program, and asked him to check on Steptoe. When the 9-month-old was discovered not to be breathing, Anderson reportedly called a friend first, then an ambulance. The 9-year-old says that the friend came to Anderson’s mother’s apartment and took the 10 other children to Anderson’s apartment.
Anderson chose to contact the child’s mother via a Facebook message to inform her that her child had stopped breathing and that an ambulance had been called. This was done even when she had the deceased baby’s mother’s number as well as her boyfriend’s.
The baby, Dacion Steptoe Jr., was described by his mother as an adventurous child who was on his way to walking from crawling. He was said to be a good-humored child who loved to swim.
Dacion’s mother, Julia Ruffin, wanted an affordable and accessible place in relation to her residence, and this is one of the reasons why she chose to seek out Anderson’s services. She also was lulled into a false sense of confidence on account of the fact that the daycare came highly recommended by a friend, and because she said Anderson claimed to have a permit.
It was reported that on the day after Dacion’s death, investigators received a tip that Anderson was again caring for children in her apartment on Berry Street. When the investigator arrived, they found 12 children inside the apartment but could not find Anderson. Anderson later exited the bathroom and said that she had been hiding from the investigator behind the shower curtain.
Experienced daycare abuse? Speak with an attorney.
If your child has suffered any form of mistreatment or abuse at the hands of a daycare worker or day care center, it is your legal right to seek justice. Negligent or abusive childcare workers certainly face criminal charges, but by speaking with a daycare abuse attorney, you may be able to file a civil claim (lawsuit) as well.
Rasansky law firm has been at the forefront of daycare abuse cases in Dallas, and we invite you to call us for a free consultation at 1-877-405-4313. Alternatively, you can fill in the contact form on this page and we’ll get back to you shortly to discuss the options available to you. Thanks for choosing us; we look forward to helping you and your family.