DCF employee accused of failing to report abuse before Melbourne 3-year-old’s death

Dallas Jasper, 26, was arrested Monday

Dallas Jasper, 26 (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A former worker with the Department of Children and Families is now facing charges stemming from the death of a 3-year-old boy in June 2021.

Dallas Jasper, 26, was arrested Monday by Melbourne police.

Jasper was called to Health First Center for Child Development on June 2, 2021, according to the arrest affidavit, to investigate after Jameson Nance, 3, was found with bruises and scratches on his body.

Investigators said DCF was called after the boy’s mother, Erica Dotson, brought Nance to the day care facility and workers there noticed bruises on the child and scratches. When questioned, Dotson claimed the boy was attacked by a duck, causing him to fall into a pond, according to police.

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Records show, Jasper was shown pictures of the injuries but did not actually meet with the boy, despite the fact he was present at the day care when Jasper was called.

Police said Jasper did not explain to her supervisor that she had viewed images of the injuries, or that those photos even existed, and did not describe their severity. Her supervisor later told detectives that Jasper only said the day care would be calling in a report of a duck bite that left a mark on Nance’s ear, according to the arrest affidavit.

Nance never returned to the day care after June 2 and was reported dead 9 days later on June 11.

Jasper was fired from DCF in August 2021, records show. Investigators said negligence was listed as the reason for her termination.

Jasper faces a charge of failure to report suspected child abuse.

Three workers at the day care facility — Elizabeth Fowler, 37, teacher Kristal Samuel, 40, and director Jaymie Gaucher, 51 — all face the same charges.

Investigators said that the child’s mother left the boy in the care of Joshua Manns, 25, at a home in West Melbourne on the morning of June 11 when she went to work.

She told officers that she spoke with Manns around 6 p.m. and had a brief conversation about possibly going to look at a puppy after work, according to the affidavit. The mother said she then spoke with Manns again about an hour later and the man advised her not to drive adding that the 3-year-old was “not good,” records show.

Police said Manns eventually told the mother that the boy was dead or likely dead and claimed the child had drowned. The mother rushed home while calling 911, records show. The dispatcher made contact with Manns in an effort to provide CPR instructions to him but the 25-year-old stated that he was no longer in the area, according to investigators.

Manns was later arrested in Georgia on June 29, 2021.

An autopsy found that the boy did not drown, but had suffered significant abuse over a three-week period which ultimately ended in his death, detectives said.

Dotson was arrested about two weeks later after police said they determined that while she may not have beaten the boy, she knew he was being harmed and did nothing to protect him.

Dotson and Manns both face a charge of first-degree murder. If convicted, prosecutors have said they will push for the death penalty.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.