Alabama day care workers indicted after baby found dead under blanket

Published 10:04 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

The owner of an Alabama day care center, three former employees and the parent of a former employee have been indicted in the death of a Mississippi baby who was put to sleep on her stomach in violation of safety standards.

The baby, 4-month-old Autumn Wells, died March 9 after she was found unresponsive at Tiny Tigers Daycare in Red Bay, Alabama. She was buried in Belmont, Mississippi.

Her mother, Taylor Wells, works at a motor home business in Red Bay, and the day care center is nearby. The center has been closed since a week after Autumn’s death.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources found safety violations at the Tiny Tigers, including improper sleeping practices for children and staffing issues, WAAY-TV reported Monday.

The department also found Autumn was put to sleep on her stomach and was covered by a blanket. This violated a state standard and likely made it harder to see the baby having breathing problems.

The baby’s mother, Taylor Wells, told WTVA-TV that Autumn was “the whole center of my world.”

“I just — everything seems pointless,” Wells said. “You know, I get up and go to work. And before, everything I did was for her … and now, I don’t know what to do, and I don’t have a purpose anymore.”

The department said day care employees initially lied to Red Bay Police about how Autumn was put to sleep.

News outlets reported Tiny Tigers owner Angelene Chamblee has been charged with six counts of violating the Child Care Act and two counts of second-degree forgery related to falsified employee records and improper staffing.

According to court documents, Madison Jade McCalpin and Payton Nicole Gann put the baby on her stomach and left her there for an extended time. They both were both charged with manslaughter and false reporting to law enforcement.

Teia Kay Gann and Hannah Grace Letson were charged with tampering with a witness. Letson was also charged with tampering with evidence.

Chamblee failed to keep records of her employees’ health and safety training, WAFF-TV reported.

News outlets did not report whether those indicted are represented by attorneys who could comment on their behalf.