Warsaw Police and the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office have concluded their investigation into the Aug. 6 death of a toddler that happened at his babysitter’s home and have filed charges against the caregiver.
Dana D. Shell, 43, 907 S. Union St., Warsaw, was arrested today and is charged with neglect of a dependent, a Class A felony. After several interviews with police, Shell admitted that the child was improperly strapped in a car seat, which was in a bedroom of the home. Shell acknowledged knowing there was a concern with the child in the car seat, but she failed to take immediate action to care for him or report there was a problem.
The official cause of death was ruled accidental positional asphyxia, or accidental strangulation.
Because of Shell’s failure to take action or seek medical attention, the Class A felony charge was filed.
Police say there were 11 other children inside the home when the incident happened. Shell was not a state licensed day care provider. State law says daycares must be licensed if they have more than five children who are not related to the daycare operator. Only two of the children were related to Shell.
Payton, the son of David and Nova Brettell of Warsaw, was found unresponsive strapped in the car seat in Shell’s home. Paramedics were called by another adult who found the child unresponsive. He was transported via ambulance to Kosciusko Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead by the emergency room physician.
If convicted on the initial charge, Shell faces up to 50 years in prison. In Indiana, a Class A felony carries the penalty of 20 years to 50 years and a fine of up to $10,000.