Woman Charged After Children Found In Her Care

Wednesday, July 4th 2007, 10:23 am
By: News On 6

PRYOR, Okla. (AP) -- A woman who was barred from providing day care services after an infant died while in her care faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly watching children. Mayes County prosecutors charged Wendy Cobb last week with violating the state law governing child care facilities.

On May 7, the Department of Human Services prohibited Cobb, 42, from providing services to children and ordered her to immediately close her Country Home Day Care business in Osage.

DHS issued the emergency order three days after 2-month-old Nathaniel Dooley died. The agency faulted Cobb for leaving her 15-year-old daughter alone to care for the baby and eight other children, six of whom were under age 5.

"During this time a 2-month-old child was found non-responsive by your daughter and later pronounced dead," a DHS official said in the emergency order. "The person left in charge, your daughter, did not meet caregiver qualification and the home was understaffed."

The boy was found on his stomach in a playpen in the bathroom, said Scott Yeager, a Mayes County sheriff's investigator. The boy is thought to be a victim of sudden infant death syndrome.

Cobb was charged after DHS workers and Yeager found her caring for six children June 21 in an apartment in Pryor, court records show.

She said she was working there for a friend for $120 a week and she thought that was allowed to do so, the sheriff's investigator told The Oklahoman.

Cobb was confronted after a DHS regional manager videotaped her arriving at the apartment with children in a van, the investigator wrote in court papers. The DHS manager later saw parents dropping off children.

Cobb did not return phone calls on Tuesday for comment. A man who answered a call to her said, "We're just tired of it."

According to records, Cobb, whose day care opened in 2002, violated DHS child care guidelines. The violations included other instances of not adequately supervising children.

She also was told in April that she faced possible revocation of her license for failing to disclose she had a criminal conviction.

Cobb pleaded guilty in November in federal court to falsifying records to get more pay for physical therapy services. She was sentenced in February to probation and ordered to pay $63,092 in restitution.