… and justice for all.

The mother of 10-month-old Marcia who died when a seven-year old girl in daycare threw her to the ground several times in the 20-23 minute absence of any caregiver, protested a lack of criminal charges against the daycare center by walking in front of the courthouse carrying a poster of Marcia as she lay dying in her hospital bed.

And it is a horrifying image that will punch you in the stomach.

I won’t post it here because it is gut-wrenching.  Her entire face is black and blue.  She has a tube in her mouth.  She was ten-months-old.

If I’m being honest, when I first read about this story, and I read the caregiver’s first account which was that she left for “a minute” to go upstairs to change a diaper, well, I figured it was a tragic set of circumstances that led to the baby’s death. I wasn’t sure if charges needed to be filed.  Certainly you don’t go charging a seven-year-old with homicide and is it really child endangerment to leave some kids alone for a minute?  Nah.

Now we find out the caregiver left for over 20 minutes, leaving a ten-month-old alone with other children.  And one of those children absolutely physically destroyed Marcia.

It might seem a bit heavy-handed to walk the streets with a poster of your bloodied, bruised and dying baby, but if you walked into a hospital room after being called away from work and after being told that your child was injured at daycare, and you found that poor thing lying in the bed, her eyes swollen and black, her entire forehead one big bruise, barely clinging to a fleeting life, and then after burying your baby you learned that charges wouldn’t be filed, not even a child endangerment charge, well, I PittGirl pretty much won’t blink an eye if you decide to take an Uzi to the courthouse, so protesting with a poster of your baby is pretty tame if you ask me.

“There’s no evidence which would indicate the caregiver knew that leaving the child with a 7-year-old would result in injury or death,” Zappala said. “By her account, she was gone 20 to 23 minutes. Some people have a problem with that. But it depends on why she was away from the children.

“This is a commercial setting, the 20-year-old was certified, she didn’t leave to go to a bar. Factually, this is entirely different between what happened in Larimer and what happened here.”

Um.  No it ain’t.

  1. Did the mothers from the Larimer fire know that by leaving, their children would die?  No.
  2. Was it wrong of them to leave the children alone unsupervised for so long a time?  Absolutely.
  3. Did the mothers deserve to be punished?  For. Sure.

Coincidentally, a foster mother was recently charged with child endangerment after her young foster child wandered away from a picnic and drowned in a neighbor’s pool.

  1. Did the foster mother know that by not keeping an eye on the child that the child would die?  No.
  2. Was it wrong of her to turn away from the child for so long a time?  No doubt.
  3. Did the foster mother deserve to be punished?  Certainly!

Taking that into account, let’s look at Marcia’s case:

  1. Did the caregiver know that by leaving the children alone for 23 minutes that Marcia would die?  No.
  2. Was it wrong of a paid caregiver to leave the children unsupervised for as long a time as it could take a parent to leave her children unsupervised while she quickly ran to the store or the bar down the street?  Absolutely.
  3. Does the daycare center/caregiver deserve to be punished?

For Marcia, I think so.





30 Comments

  1. don
    August 12, 2008 7:41 am

    I don’t understand why society feels it cannot punish minors for serious crimes. Our choice and this law opens the door for young felons to escape punishment and likely become all the more arrogant and aggressive in the process.

    We must do a better job of representing the innocent rather than expressing concern for the guilty.



  2. Cindy T.
    August 12, 2008 7:52 am

    1. How do we really know the caregiver left? 2. How do we know the seven year old did it? Just nagging thoughts.



  3. pittgirl
    August 12, 2008 8:00 am

    Cindy, the seven year old admitted to the police and CYF workers that she did it.



  4. Matthew
    August 12, 2008 8:11 am

    Don, I’m not sure what you’re saying here. You want the seven year old to go to jail? What good does that do? I shudder to think of a nation in which children so young are locked up.



  5. pierogie kid
    August 12, 2008 8:37 am

    Agreed, you can’t 7 year old to prison. But I have a hard time believing that little kid was not already known to be violent/disturbed I mean, look what she did to that baby, I am sure she had “acted out” before. That alone would probably make a good case for child endangerment, that is, leaving that child unattended around other smaller children, or even allowing to have that child in a day care with other children is cause for gross/ negligence.



  6. pierogie kid
    August 12, 2008 8:52 am

    It seems to me this will definetely go to civil court. I would expect a massive law suit decision against this day care and their insurer which will be pretty stark and entirely justified. Not that it will help the mother in this tragic case, it will tighten-up the day care industry around here to ensure they are better staffed



  7. Unacceptable
    August 12, 2008 8:58 am

    Lock up the seven year old and the people who raised her.



  8. Dr Remulak
    August 12, 2008 9:06 am

    Right that is F’ing brillant.



  9. efw_west
    August 12, 2008 9:11 am

    I’ve seen enough 7-8 year olds that are on the way to a criminal life already and this kid is probably one of them. I agree with Unacceptable.



  10. Confused
    August 12, 2008 9:39 am

    My problem with the whole thing is that the woman who ran the daycare center decided to close, and so, the state says there’s nothing more they can do to her, either. There’s no taking her license in case she would try to get another one, there’s no removing her child abuse clearances because she’s not the one who did it, there’s nothing. The same, from what I’ve read, goes for the 20 year old who booked it upstairs to take care of whatever it was she was taking care of. And since nothing will be filed against the 7 year old, and since even if there was, it would be sealed at 18 and wouldn’t attach if she wants to work in a daycare center as an adult, there’s just no justice here.

    The fact that Marcia Poston’s mother has the presence of mind to take to the streets with a picture of her daughter as her only weapon speaks a lot for the type of class that she has.



  11. Blueline1925
    August 12, 2008 9:50 am

    As a parent, the thought of all of this happening makes me sick. Physically ill.



  12. retiredguy
    August 12, 2008 9:55 am

    The 7 year old needs to be put into the system. Juvenile court, counseling, anger management, etc. and watched by a case worker for future violent acts. Which, according to the article is going to happen.

    Little Stevie needs to bring criminal charges against the caregiver and/or the daycare. He won’t because evidently he feels it is not to his political advantage to do so. If there were votes in it, the caregiver would be frog marched up the courthouse steps today.

    That’s what happens when a PA supreme court justice gets his little boy a job.



  13. unsatisfied
    August 12, 2008 10:15 am

    this story just amazes me. I totally feel for ms. moore.

    I agree that something needs to be done with 7-year-old in the way of some sort of rehabilitation/punishment.

    but — if what has been said in the press about the caregiver is true, then I cannot see how zappala can NOT bring criminal charges against the caregiver.

    ms. moore entrusted that caregiver to take care of her child and the child died in the care of the caregiver. if no charges are brought, then how is anyone going to feel safe in leaving their child at a day care?



  14. Dr Remulak
    August 12, 2008 10:43 am

    Not disagreeing, but how are you going to punish a 7 year old for beating an infant to death? Grounded and no allowance for 6 weeks? Or general pop at SCI Greaterford? One thing is for sue you have to get them into some kind of monitoring/treatment facility to protect other children.



  15. Sooska
    August 12, 2008 10:57 am

    The little girl who did the deed is in the CYS system (or whatever they call it these days) and getting counseling according to news articles in the paper. That is how Zappala is handling it so the courts have jurrisdiction. I agree that the caregiver should be charged. Leaving a 7 YO with a baby and unsupervised for an extended period (anything over a couple of minutes) is a recipe for a problem. Parents now this. You don’t expect death but injury could be forseen just by virute of the kid being 7 YO. Such violence can’t be a product of a vaccuum. The kid surely has seen or experienced something like that and has probably acted out in some way before. Totally forseeable.

    What does “commerical setting” have to do with anything?

    Also, there will be no civil suit. This was a small family day care home, not a global conglomerate. Likewise the individuals? They have nothing to take. Many of these facilities are created as a means for the operator to earn money since they can get state subsidized day care funds (I have no knowledge of this place other than what the PG said which is it was a family day care home that had to regsitered as it cared for up to 6 kids.) There will be no suit or money coming to the victim’s mother. It’s a travesty that the baby will have no justice.



  16. atl burger
    August 12, 2008 11:12 am

    PittGirl – Thank you for writing about this and bringing to light the injustice that Marcia and her mother face. It is good that you have the growing following you do because you give an honest, open opinion.

    I don’t believe that this came out of nowhere and I agree that the 7 year old probably displayed violent behavior previously. Unfortunately, parents don’t always like to admit there is something wrong with their child and always want to blame someone or something else for the problem. Wake up. Wasn’t the 7 YO related to the caregiver? I thought I had read that somewhere but I could be wrong.

    The caregiver should indeed be held responsible in some sense. What was she doing for 20-23 minutes? And I am guessing it was longer than that and she is not telling the whole truth to save herself. The court and CYS need to take a good look at the 7 year old and her home life and living situation because the urge to hurt another child to that extent does not come naturally.



  17. Pierogie Kid
    August 12, 2008 12:08 pm

    I am not sure about that. If they were licensed to provide daycare in this state they need to be insured/bonded (do not know this as a fact but I would be shocked if you didn’t)that’s where a civil suit comes in. If they were unlicensed then criminal charges would apply. BTW I am not a lawyer I just play one on this blog



  18. Christina
    August 12, 2008 2:04 pm

    “The fact that Marcia Poston’s mother has the presence of mind to take to the streets with a picture of her daughter as her only weapon speaks a lot for the type of class that she has.”

    I think it comes from fighting so hard to get no results that she just feels utterly helpless. The only way for anyone to get any kind of meaning out of her fight is to see that picture, to see why she’s struggling so much and to see why it is such an injustice that nothing can be done here. It’s a devastating story, and while I can’t say what I would do if I were in her situation, that image of her child on her premature deathbed in such extreme pain and suffering says more than anything.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with the type of person she is or any kind of class she has. She’s just more than likely so desperate for help that she felt this was the only way to get it.



  19. TeacherMomma
    August 12, 2008 2:34 pm

    I am a teacher who currently is a stay-at-home-mom, and I was outraged when I saw the length of time the “caregiver” left the children unattended. Unless they are sleeping in separate rooms, there is NO excuse for that. As a caregiver, it is your job to think ahead and plan. The newspaper article said she left for that period of time to change her child’s diaper. Well, a) it doesn’t take 23 minutes to change even the nastiest explosive diapers, and b) why could she not change the child in the basement?

    I think this is just like the case in Erie last summer where the babysitter fell asleep while she was supposed to be watching her half-sister and a neighbor, and both girls drowned. That girl (Brittany Steward) just made a plea bargain, but would have surely been found guilt. What is the difference between that case and this one?



  20. Nel
    August 12, 2008 2:43 pm

    She’s doing what I would do if I was in desperate need of help for one of my children and had no where to turn.
    I would scream from the highest rooftop.

    God Bless her.
    Hopefully she will get some sense of justice somewhere.

    I, too had first thought it was just a tragic accident. But this did not need to happen. Leaving a 7 year old for 60 seconds is one thing, for 20-30 min. quite another.



  21. julia
    August 12, 2008 3:54 pm

    “The fact that Marcia Poston’s mother has the presence of mind to take to the streets with a picture of her daughter as her only weapon speaks a lot for the type of class that she has.”

    I don’t think the post was meant in a bad way, but rather it shows the amount of class she has in a good way. She is not sitting next to some mouth piece at a press conference screaming about how change is needed but not really doing anything. And she isn’t vowing revenge against the care taker or using violence.



  22. BOB
    August 12, 2008 4:11 pm

    These Two Quotes Trying To Defend Everyone Involved Make Me Sick

    “There’s no evidence which would indicate the caregiver knew that leaving the child with a 7-year-old would result in injury or death,” Zappala said.

    “This is a commercial setting, the 20-year-old was certified, she didn’t leave to go to a bar.

    Just wondering how Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr sleeps at night



  23. Xena
    August 12, 2008 8:40 pm

    There’s a six-year old in our extended family that we babysit from time to time. He’s never left alone because our house isn’t kid-proof and he can get into mischief in a heartbeat. Good kid. He’s just 6. And if we are responsible for him, there’s someone with him, or someone watching him when he plays outside, even if it makes us nuts to watch Thomas the Tank Engine again. And again.

    So “[t]he 20-year-old was certified.” What?? “She didn’t leave to go to a bar”???? She was PAID to supervise these kids. She didn’t do her job.

    I would love to know what the routine was in this “facility.” My guess is that they figured having an adult in the house, doing whatever, was good enough. My guess is that kids were often left unsupervised, by which I mean that an adult didn’t have an eagle eye on them all the time. Did DA Zappala actually investigate this killing? Talk to the kids in the facility and other parents to see how things operated?

    It’s one thing to leave your own children “unsupervised” in their own bedrooms or a playroom–because you have raised them, you know what they have been taught, how well they follow rules and live within limitations, how well they listen to their conscience, or if they have one. And they know the consequences that will ensue with bad behavior. Even then, tragedies can happen. That’s why parents have baby monitors. And eyes in the back of their head, as my mother did. And babysitters who aren’t allowed to have their boyfriends come to visit. You get hired to watch someone’s kids, you watch someone’s kids. You WATCH them.

    Marcia’s mother cared enough to put her in a licensed facility, with “certified” caregivers. What she got for her money was a brutally murdered child and the cold shoulder from the district attorney. This one we need to remember at election time.



  24. Still A. Fan
    August 12, 2008 9:50 pm

    as a parent, this makes me sick as well. my daughter is almost 9 and she is very mature, empathetic and trustworthy. she has never shown an ounce of violence or aggressive behavior. we have friends who have kids who are less than a year old. I would never in a million years leave my own daughter alone with one of them for 23 minutes. Not because I don’t trust my daughter, but because of an accident. She may not see the danger of falling down steps, standing on a chair…etc. This is an absurd story and forces me to not trust society as a whole. What do you do in a situation like this? My daughter went to daycare from the time she was 4 months old until she was going into first grade. there were 3 caregivers to each age group of kids and probably 12 workers in the building at any one time. i was also paying out the ass for it and I know everyone can’t afford to do that. I feel for every person trying to go to bed tonight who doesn’t fully trust their daycare. At some point, as a society, we’re going to be so desensitized to this type of thing that it will be the same as reading “Toddler Missing” and not even stopping to read the story as we jump over to check the sports scores. You don’t even feel like trying to be funny after you read this.



  25. allison
    August 12, 2008 10:08 pm

    Yes, Mr. Zappala, some people do have a problem with leaving a 7-year-old and a 10-month-old unsupervised for 20-23 minutes. I’m sure Ms. Moore is one of them.

    I have a 5-month-old and there is no way I can fathom the agony Ms. Moore has to live with everyday. No parent should EVER have to lose a child like this. I deeply hope Ms. Moore gets the justice she and Marcia deserve.

    It’s unfortunate that a jackass like Zappala is responsible for delivering that justice.



  26. LaReina
    August 13, 2008 7:36 am

    I agree with Christina and my heart just breaks for Marcia’s mother.



  27. Burgh Baby
    August 13, 2008 9:47 am

    I can’t possibly sum up all of my thoughts on this into one little comment, but I will say that there is one significant difference between this case and the others. Most of the time when we hear about something like this, it’s a parent who was at fault. Unfortunately, you don’t need a license or training or even common sense to have sex and pop out a kid. To be a daycare provider, however, is a whole other issue. I fully expect someone who is getting paid to voluntarily watch a child to have the common sense and training to know that you should never EVER leave a ten-month old alone for 20 to 23 minutes. It’s a significant failure of the system to not hold the daycare provider responsible.



  28. red pen mama
    August 13, 2008 2:24 pm

    You know, for as much as I come to this site to get a good laugh, I have to commend you, PittGirl, for also being able to write about this tragedy. Justice is in no way being served. And regardless of whether or not it will be served, that mother will never get her little girl back. And that is the saddest blow a parent can receive.

    ciao,
    rpm



  29. VISA
    August 13, 2008 8:25 pm

    I also commend you, Pittgirl, for opening the dialogue. I had issues with a caregiver 20 years ago and it still haunts me. Quit my job and was poor for awhile (took household income down to one). Zappala’s replies are lame and after I finish posting this and doing a little research, I think I may drop him a line. A little note letting him know that this issue is too important to just sweep away. I thought I did here (maybe via news reports) that Zap said that the case was not closed. I may have misunderstood.



  30. DDD
    August 20, 2008 8:45 am

    To everyone stating that the 7 year old had anger issues.I’ve known the little girl since she was a baby and she has never shown or displayed any signs of anger issues.The caregiver who was left in charge,20mins may have been to long to leave the children alone,but yall are making like she left the house and was gone for 2hours.20mins goes pass so fast and im pretty sure many mothers and other care takers left a small child with an older child while they went up or down stairs to do something.That young lady went to change a diaper and then started preparing lunch for the kids.I’m not saying it was right or wrong,but some of you are saying some very harsh things and really don’t know what is going on it is a very tragic incident that happened and they are going though it also they loved that baby and are very touched by all off this