A Florida family is outraged after no charges were filed against the daycare where their infant daughter reportedly died during her first day at the state-licensed daycare.
The family spoke out for the first time on Tuesday night, asking for justice in the death of their infant daughter, Jersi McKnight, according to WCTV.
“She honestly had just started smiling and giggling. I just assumed she was in good care. Child abuse, child neglect,” Martasha Robinson, Jersi’s mother, told WCTV.
“It’s neglect all day,” Jonathan McKnight, the 2-month-old’s father, added, according to WCTV. “I need some answers. I need some answers. She won’t be forgotten. Justice will be served.”
Finding suitable daycare is one of the many issues women and families are faced with, especially during the pandemic. Robinson received many suggestions to enroll her infant daughter in daycare and choose the Hugger Family Daycare, located in Perry, Fla.
On Aug. 9, 2021, Robinson dropped her baby girl off for her first daycare day around 8 a.m. and said goodbye before leaving. Little did she know that that would be the last time she would see baby Jersi alive. She received the heartbreaking news from another child’s parent during a frantic phone call, WCTV reported.
“My heart stopped. I’m getting closer and closer to the scene, and there’s an ambulance, and detectives and police lights,” Robinson said.
An officer met with Robinson and explained the possible cause of death baby Jersi endured at the daycare. She was left unattended on the changing table and somehow rolled over and landed in a nearby mop bucket where the 2-month-old girl drowned.
“That alone — leaving her — is just negligence,” Robinson said.
Recently, a grand jury voted 10-8 not to indict the daycare owner on criminal charges. The decision left the McKnight family feeling helpless as there was no justice for their infant daughter’s death.
” I’m still in shock. Hoping I heard it wrong. Maybe I just heard it wrong,” said Katrina Cook, the baby’s aunt.
” That’s just like taking a bucket of water and throwing it out in the yard, and when it’s dried up, it’s over with. My grandbaby was way more than a bucket of water,” said Walter Bishop, the baby’s great-grandfather.
Regardless of the grand jury’s ruling, baby Jersi’s case is still under investigation. According to Florida state records, the daycare was cited as “non-compliant” on two separate occasions. One incident included a violation that was five weeks before Jersi’s death.
The daycare was accused of having seven children under the age of three, more than the number permitted under Florida law.
The state attorney’s office did not comment on the case. The Perry Police Department declined further interviews and refused to provide copies of the incident, WCTV reported.
The family said they have also hired an attorney for a civil suit. They are still waiting on the headstone and slab to be placed on baby Jersi’s grave.