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Unlicensed Titusville day care worker shook infant, police say

Woman says infant flipped over toy, doctors say that's not possible

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – A Titusville woman was arrested Saturday for allegedly abusing an infant in her care this summer, officials with the City of Titusville said.

Police responded to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children on Aug. 8 after hospital administration reported a possible case of child abuse to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Police said the baby was picked up from Dawn Michelle Garcia’s in-home unlicensed day care facility before being taken to the hospital.

Garcia told the mother the baby was "super playful" and flipped over a toy at her home during the day. Investigators determined the 12-18 inch-tall toy was not one the infant would have the psychical ability to sit on or play with unassisted.

The infant's mother told police when she picked up the baby began to vomit and "appeared ill," according to the report. The mother took the baby to Parrish Medical Center, but the infant was flown to Arnold Palmer after a CT scan revealed the extent of the injuries.

The preliminary investigations show that the infant was suffering from abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome.

Doctors wrote that the infant was "subjected to severe acceleration/deceleration forces from severe rotation of the child's head during a shaking episode," according to the arrest warrant.

It is still unknown what long-term injuries the baby will suffer from, according to the arrest affidavit. Doctors told the infant's mother that follow up testing will determine if the baby will have permanent hearing loss because of the abuse.

Garcia, 47, is charged with aggravated child abuse and held on $25,000 bail in the Brevard County Jail.

A spokesperson from DCF told News 6 that the department responded to the home in August just after the incident and discovered there was an illegal home daycare being operated.

There was a cease and desist letter generated and executed. There is no record of Garcia being licensed as a child care provider with the department.

DCF also reminds families to check online to see if their daycare center is licensed.  Some Florida child care centers also earn a Gold Seal designation, reflecting quality in the level of care and supervision provided to children.

To search licensed child care providers and see inspection histories, click here.


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