Nathan's Army

Stand up, speak up, our children's voices need to be heard.


Baby Jane Smith

Posted by nathansarmy on July 19, 2013 at 12:00 AM

I was recently contacted by a family, who suffered the loss of their sweet baby girl in an unlicensed in-home daycare, on January 18, 2013.  I am so saddened that though all my efforts these tragedies continue to happen and our lawmakers are still not passing Nathan's Law!

Below is a letter they wrote to their Representative.

To Donna Lichtenegger, District 157:

This letter comes to you in regards to an urgent matter. I feel as though the concerns my family has regarding the death of my daughter, Jane Smith, who on January 18, 2013 was in the care of an unlicensed babysitter, Betty Brown, have been scuttled under the allusion of a no-fault natural death. As one of your constituents, I believe such injustices should with respect, garner attention and interest from you under a commonality of shared beliefs that such actions shall not be tolerated.

The babysitter, Betty Brown (Brown) of Saint Mary, Missouri, was found guilty of watching an excessive number of children (14), of which my wife and I were unaware; at the time my daughter, Jane Smith, was purportedly being watched. To this day, the Perry County Missouri Sheriff’s department and the investigator handling the case, John Doe, have failed to recommend charges in this case. As the parents of this beautiful little girl, we feel it is important to find the truth and educate others as to the potential dangers involved with in-home daycare providers. We are motivated by the inconsistencies of the events that surround her death and the unwillingness of local authorities to investigate without bias. Our daughter was neglected by Brown; left for over 3 hours to fend for herself at the tender age of 7 months old, with 14 other young kids, in proximity to a wood burning stove, and in a inadequately ventilated basement room. According to Brown, Jane was found blue and on her back. During CPR, black material was thrown up by my daughter. This material was never found in her autopsy or toxicology, as the only liquid in her stomach was light colored formula from lunch. After discussing this with several local paramedics not involved in this tragedy; I was told the black liquid was likely blood from her lungs. The Perry County Sheriff’s department, as the originating Law Enforcement agency responding to Brown’s house, is believed to have failed in their duties upon arrival to this situation. The scene (Brown’s Home) was never secured and access restricted to those parties at the scene. Sheriff’s Detective Doe made the presumptive assertion upon his initial contact with us at the hospital, that Jane was a victim of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome- a medical diagnosis which should not be presumed at the scene of such an occurrence). It is our belief that Doe and the responding officer failed to properly secure, preserve, maintain and document the scene. In addition, photos were only taken of the area where Brown stated the incident occurred and no clothing evidence from Jane or Marie Johnson (Betty’s first cousin) (first responder whom Jane threw up the unidentified black material on) was ever collected. Jane was noted by paramedics as exhibiting “stiffening” or “rigor” in her extremities upon their initial assessment on scene; this finding lead the ambulance crew to cancel air transportation “AirEvac”, and this information was available to Doe at that time. As Jane very well could have been “gone” long before medical help arrived, the scene should have been treated as a homicide until evidence could prove otherwise; instead the scene was handled as though Brown played no part in Jane’s passing, and her death was naturally occurring. Authorities appear unwilling to hold Brown accountable for such neglectful actions. Neglect or abuse of a child under Missouri Law, statute 568.060 states “(4) the failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child under the age of eighteen years, the care reasonable and necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the child, when such failure presents a substantial probability that death or physical injury or sexual injury would result” and “2. A person commits the offense of abuse or neglect of a child if such person knowingly causes a child who is less than eighteen years of age: (2) To be placed in a situation in which the child may suffer physical or mental injury as the result of abuse or neglect”. Brown made the conscious decision to watch an excessive number of children; to not check on Jane for over 3 hours; and to place her in an environment which lead to her passing. Because Brown knowingly “abandoned” Jane in an environment which could likely result in physical injury or death, it is believed she violated Missouri Statute 568.030, Abandonment of a child in the first degree. Any person, whom violates Missouri Statute 568.045, commits the crime of endangering the welfare of a child in the first by way of knowingly acting in a manner that constructs a considerable hazard to the life, body, or health of a child less than seventeen years old; again perpetrated by Brown in her actions on the day Jane passed. According to Missouri Statute 565.024, involuntary manslaughter in the second degree may be levied when “3. …. he/she acts with criminal negligence to cause the death of any person.”. Watching 14 kids and leaving Jane, a 7 month old infant, in a closed, excessively warm envi-ronment, is negligence. Detective Doe, with his preconceived notion of SIDS, communicating with Brown’s family regarding the details of the ongoing case (believed based on comments made by Brown’s sister), and knowingly failing to collect the appropriate evidence (which could have been used during the autopsy to determine the correct cause of death) was in violation of Missouri Statute 575.020 wherein, Doe conferred biased consideration to any person (Brown’s family) in consideration of that person's concealing of any offense (death from neglect), refraining from initiating or aiding in the prosecution of an offense, or withholding any evidence (clothes from Jane and Marie).

I am writing this letter to plead for help in garnering attention and support for this case with the notion that such attention would allow for a review to be held by third party entities that have no small town affiliations with Perry County Missouri. We believe our daughter, Jane, was in excellent health for her age and there is no reason she should have passed away. We believe the circumstances she was put in by Brown were calculating and indifferent and as such neglectful. Perry County Missouri is a small close knit town, about 30 minutes North of where my family lives. We believe because of the extreme bias present in Perry County, the death of our daughter will not be sought by authorities and the appropriate parties held accountable. We look forward to hearing from you.


**Names have been changed to protect identity.**

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