Investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services are re-opening the case of a three-month-old boy who died at a Houston day care center after a lawyer representing the mother uncovered serious pitfalls in the storyline.
The investigation involves the November 2016 death of infant Shane Diaz at the Bibs and Cribs day care center in northwest Houston.
The autopsy after the initial investigation ruled the child’s death as “sudden infant death syndrome,” commonly known as SIDS. According to previous interviews with investigators, Shane was put on his back for a nap — a requirement of Texas law for infant care workers to do in order to prevent SIDS.
According to the same reports, the workers found “blood and vomit on his nose” a short time later and could not detect a “pulse or breath” from the infant. Workers called for an ambulance as day care center Director Nataki Griffin performed CPR on the child.
The ambulance arrived and paramedics took over on trying to resuscitate the child, while a worker called the child’s mother, Shawna Diaz.
When Diaz and her family arrived at the hospital, they were told that the infant was on life support and that his brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long for him to recover; the family then decided to take the child off of life support.
Diaz later filed a lawsuit against Bibs and Cribs. Her attorney, Joe Alexander, uncovered several discrepancies between the stories Griffin and her workers told state investigators and what they said to him in their depositions as part of the lawsuit.
Discrepancies include who was monitoring Shane when they noticed trouble, and whether he was actually placed on his stomach, instead of his back.
Another point of contention is the fact that the day care’s surveillance cameras were only active during the night to prevent theft, rather than during the hours of operation. Under Texas law, surveillance cameras are not required in day cares.
Alexander reported the discrepancies to the authorities, which prompted them to re-open the investigation into the Diaz case. To ensure accountability, Alexander and Diaz now want Texas legislators to pass a law mandating surveillance cameras to be in use when the children are there.
Just a week before the death of Shane Diaz, Bibs and Cribs was the target of another investigation. In late October 2016, state investigators probed the day care center after the mother of an eight-month-old boy reported she found bruises on the boy’s arm. A visit to the pediatrician revealed the bruises “appeared to be fingerprints.”
Employees and management at Bibs and Cribs did not comment on either investigation.