ALBANY, Ga. -- A 19-month-old girl's beating death could have been avoided "beyond a reasonable doubt" if a daycare director had obeyed the law, said Greg Edwards, district attorney.
Glenda Ann Brown, 49, was arrested about 3 p.m. Tuesday because she knew Janaysia Stevenson, who died March 28, had suffered chronic beatings since Jan. 1 and ignored the law that required her to report it, Edwards said.
"It is the law. If a teacher, a medical professional or a daycare director observes abuse, it is their duty to report it," Edwards said. "From the investigation, we know she knew. We have witnesses who said she was told of the child's abuse. But she didn't report it."
Stevenson died from internal injuries inflicted by Gregory Keith Evans, 28, who lived with the child's mother but was not the biological father of the abused child, stated Albany Police Department reports.
Chaitia Stevenson, 20, the mother, also knew of the abuse and did nothing, police reports stated. Stevenson and Evans remain in jail charged with murder, reports added.
Brown was jailed on the misdemeanor charge and at 7 p.m. she had not yet made $1,000 bail, a jail spokesman said.
The charge could bring Brown a $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail, Edwards said. The misdemeanor punishment, should Brown be found guilty, did not stop Edwards from emphasizing the gravity of the crime.
"There is no information as to why she did not report the abuse," Edwards said. "There is no excuse. No excuse for her to fail to do that. A child's life could have been saved."
W.B. Caldwell, the owner and CEO of Little Citizens Learning Academy at 1321 Radium Springs Road where Brown was arrested, said she was "totally baffled" by the arrest.
"Our teachers are trained. The director (Brown) was trained to report abuse or suspected to DFACS (Family and Children Services Division)," Caldwell said. "The children are patted down and if there are large marks it is reported."
Brown has been the director of Caldwell's daycare center for the four years it has been open. Caldwell said Tuesday afternoon that she doesn't know if the center will open today or whether Brown will continue to have a job there.
The center has 35 children in its care, Caldwell said. It may lose at least one because of Brown's arrest.
A woman driving her child away from the daycare center Tuesday wasn't sure whether she would bring her child back. The woman did not want her name used, but said, "I think it is time to go looking for a new daycare."