Mother of son who died at illegal day care speaks out

Family takes action against uncharged operator

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The mother of a two-month-old who died at a daycare, that police say was operating illegally, says she believes the owner should be charged for her son's death.

Danielle London wears two names around her neck: one for her oldest son, and one for her two-month-old baby, Chase.

"He had the most infectious smile and laugh," London says with a little smile on her face. "Beautiful baby, full head of hair, he just brightened up a room."

London and her husband both work full time, so they asked friends for recommendations on daycares.

Her husband had a friend who recommended Aqunietta White, a woman who ran a daycare out of her home.

The Londons found out they knew others who sent their children to White as well, so they entrusted her with the care of the eldest son.

"We felt pretty comfortable," London says.

About a year later, it was time for 2-month-old Chase to go to daycare, too. It made sense to send him to the same place.

Two weeks later, he'd be dead.

"My body literally went numb," London recalls.

She says while she was at work, she missed a call from the daycare. She returned the call a few minutes later and White picked up the phone.

"I was immediately told, 'hey you need to get here," London says. "I had asked what happened. I knew something happened by the tone of the voice, the panic, and she said you need to just get here."

London and her mother got in the car and started racing to the daycare.

"I don't know if it's both of them, I don't know if it's one of them, I don't know if my children are alive," she says.

While they were in the car, they learned there was something wrong with Chase, who had been rushed to the hospital.

When London and her mother got to the hospital, a doctor came to give them the news.

"We did everything we could but Chase is not with us anymore," she says the doctor told her.

According to a police investigation, the baby died from suffocation due to unsafe sleeping conditions.

London says she was told by White that Chase was sleeping in a bassinet and when they went to check on him, he was unresponsive.

After an investigation that spanned several months, the district attorney's office decided not to pursue charges against White for the death of the baby, determining there was not enough probable cause.

However, investigators quickly learned that White's daycare was operating without a license. According to CMPD investigators, White was warned back in 2013 that her daycare was operating illegally.

At the time, police say White was told she had to attend classes, and she was not allowed to have more than two children who were not her relatives at her home.

White was charged Tuesday night with operating an illegal daycare, which is a felony.

The Londons believe she should be charged in connection to Chase's death as well. They hired the Vinson Law Offices to represent them.

"They are allowing their grief to catapult them into action," attorney Lakai Vinson says. "They are hoping the community will stand behind them and push the local and state government to pursue additional charges outside of operating the illegal daycare."

The Londons are considering a civil lawsuit as well.

London says she knows there is no penalty that will compare to never being able to hear her son laugh again. But she says she hopes Chase's death may help save another life one day.

"Chase isn't here to speak for himself, so we have to be his voice," London says. "There are unlicensed daycares that are being ran as we speak, and if we can prevent a similar situation from happening to anybody else, that's what we want to do."

For tips on what to ask your day care provider before allowing your child to stay there, click here

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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