By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A former Warsaw babysitter will serve six months in jail for child neglect after a child was bitten more than 30 times by another child while in her care.
Theresa S. Bumblis, 29, 1054 N. Park Ave., Warsaw, was charged with neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony. She was sentenced in Kosciusko Superior Court Three on Monday, Nov. 30. During a one-day jury trial at the beginning of November, Bumblis was found guilty.
On Aug. 8, 2017, a Kosciusko County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a call of children being injured while at their babysitter’s home. A mother told officers she took her two children, who were ages three and 16 months old at the time, to Bumblis’ residence for babysitting. Around noon that day, Bumblis called the mother to tell her that her three-year-old son had been bitten by another child.
The mother had a relative pick up the three-year-old to check on the injury. Later that evening, the mother went to pick up her 16-month-old daughter from Bumblis’ home.
When the mother went to change her daughter’s diaper, she noticed approximately 31 bite marks all over the child’s body. The investigating officer noticed a large number of bite marks that were red and swollen on the child’s back, stomach, chest and arms. The officer also saw red and swollen bite marks on the three-year-old’s stomach and buttocks.
After noticing the marks, the mother went to speak with Bumblis about what happened. Bumblis told the mother she was babysitting a child with a biting problem but was not aware of bite marks on the 16-month-old.
During court proceedings, Bumblis said she objected to the court process as a whole and argued for the case to be dismissed, stating the court has defaulted in several jurisdictions. Bumblis also asked for the case to be dismissed before her jury trial at the beginning of the month. Prior to sentencing, Kosciusko Superior Court Three Judge Joe Sutton denied motions from Bumblis to dismiss the case.
The child’s mother and great-grandmother were present during the sentencing, with both relatives giving statements.
“My granddaughter trusted you,” said the child’s great-grandmother. “You still have no remorse for what you allowed to happen. She could’ve suffocated and died that day. You should go to jail. You could have taken away one of our most precious gifts ever.”
“I can’t comprehend how you can continue to deny this for three years,” said the child’s mother. “My grandma is right about how she could’ve suffocated and died. You’re sure lucky she didn’t.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Sobek said this case would be Bumblis’ first criminal conviction, but noted that aggravators outweigh mitigators. For aggravators, Sobek noted Bumblis was in a position of care and that she has continued to not accept responsibility or show remorse for her actions.
For neglect of a dependent, Bumblis received a two-year sentence, with six months to be executed in the Kosciusko County Jail and the remainder suspended on probation. Bumblis is to also have no contact with any children; the exception to this rule is her biological children.
Bumblis said she intends to appeal the sentence and will not seek counsel for filing an appeal. Following sentencing, Bumblis was remanded into the sheriff’s custody.