Child Care Worker Pleads Not Guilty in Suffocation Incident

Richmond woman is third to face charges over accidental death of 4-year-old boy at now-closed day care center in Terra Linda.

By Bay City News Service

A child care worker pleaded not guilty this morning in Marin County Superior Court to misdemeanor charges in connection with the accidental suffocation death of a 4-year-old boy at a San Rafael child care center in October.

Lorena Huitron Jimenez, 28, of Richmond pleaded not guilty to failure to provide medical treatment, failure to provide direct visual supervision and making false statements.

The owner of the Magic Place Children's Center, Claudia Gill, 44, and another child care worker, Sandra Del Socoro Alvarado Mendez, 49, both of Richmond, previously pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges. All three defendants are scheduled to return to court on Feb. 26.

San Rafael police arrested the women in November on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. The Marin County District Attorney's Office reviewed the case and charged the defendants with violating child care licensing requirements in the state's Health and Safety Code.

The Marin County coroner's office determined the infant accidentally suffocated when his external airway was obstructed by bedding, San Rafael police said.

Mendez is charged with failure to provide medical treatment. Gil is charged with failure to provide medical treatment, failure to provide direct visual supervision, making false statements, failure to provide adequate staffing, allowing an employee to provide care without a criminal record clearance and failure to maintain equipment.

Attorneys were appointed for Mendez and Jimenez in court this morning.

The infant's parents, David Hampp and Anne Garwood, filed a wrongful death complaint in Marin County Superior Court in December, their attorney Richard Schoenberger said.

He said the way the infant, Carter David Hampp, was placed in the crib at the child care center was "a classic example of a violation of fundamental baby care."

Schoenberger said he has not received the full autopsy report so he doesn't know if a pillow, blanket of the border of the crib suffocated the infant.

He said the coroner's offices uses the word "accidental" for a death that is not natural or intentional.

Schoenberger said all the allegations about negligent care that are in the criminal complaint will be subject to inquiry in the civil wrongful death complaint.

"The fundamental, fatal flaw was a violation of ordinary, normal care for infants — Child Care 101," Schoenberger said.

The Magic Place Child Care Center's license has been suspended by the state Department of Social Services, Schoenberger said.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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HistoryLover January 25, 2013 at 05:52 AM
This is so tragic and awful. Just goes to show you that no one will care for your baby as good as you do. Heart breaking. How many infant day-cares are there in Novato, and do they all meet basic standards required by law? When I was a new mom, I dropped my baby off to be watched, and later found domestic violence was an issue in the home (in-home care.) I was mortified.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr January 25, 2013 at 04:11 PM
It IS prejudicially discriminatory to assume that anyone with a Hispanic family name is an illegal alien. But if the turquoise puzzle palace would resume listing "federal hold warrants" to the sheriff's log then we could be certain one way or another. Demand the transparency about which the social engineers brag, but do not abide. This is an incomparable tragedy. Sincere condolences to the family.
Claire January 25, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Jerome - what does that have to do with this tragedy?? You are not making any sense and I find it offensive that you keep beating a dead dog - particularly in this siutation where a child died! Does it matter whether the woman was an illegal alien or not? Did you read that a woman by the name of Claudia Gill is also accused in the case? Well, her name sure enough doesn't sound hispanic. You just can't help yourself bringing up your illegal alien issue whenever you get an opportunity - appropriate or not - and believe me - it is completely inappropriate in connection with this tragic death!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr January 26, 2013 at 12:07 AM
@Claire, thank you for your comment.
4thgenerationnovatonative January 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Oh Jerome, Your posts are so tediously. Please quit boring us with your monotonous rants (your description, not mine). Perhaps if you had some legitimate arguements or suggestions on how to change the system you hold in such contempt people would take you seriously. …. as it stands now, you are nothing more than white noise, and completely inappropriate. My prayers are with the family of this little angel.


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