Police Say Day Care Center Was Unlicensed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 3-month-old boy died Monday, on his first day at a SoHo day care center, officials said.

Karl Towndrow of Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn was pronounced dead at North Shore-LIJ Lenox Hill Hospital Monday afternoon, police said.

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As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the day care where Karl died is located in an unmarked building at 69 Greene St., in the center of SoHo. Police said Maryellen Stautimanis runs the day care center, called SoHo Child Care – and it is unlicensed, Schneider reported.

Patrick Barth saw the couple with their newborn baby often near their Brooklyn Heights home.

“He was a very beautiful baby, and I would see either (his mother) Amber or (his father) Lee carrying him around back and forth,” Barth said. “He liked to be walked, I think.”

It was believed that Monday was Karl’s mother’s first day back at work, and Karl’s first day at the day care. Karl was their first child.

Police said the day care workers put Karl down for a nap and later noticed he was not responsive. Police said a 911 call was placed at 12:13 p.m., and both workers and emergency medical technicians tried to resuscitate the baby.

Sources said there were no signs of trauma.

Late Monday, neighbors were just dealing with the grief of the sudden loss.

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“There is no response. All you can do is just pray for everybody’s safety and everything that’s going on around you,” said neighbor Steve Inemeo.

The New York state Office of Children and Family Services is investigating the case, 1010 WINS reported. An office representative said day care centers are licensed by the city, while group family day care homes are licensed by the state.

The New York City Administration of Children’s Services also issued a statement.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of this little boy,” the city office said. “ACS and the Health Department are coordinating and are currently investigating the circumstances that led to this horrible tragedy.”

Added the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in a statement, “We are saddened and concerned about this infant death, and are working closely with law enforcement and ACS on an investigation.”

The state late Monday was investigating what kind of program the Greene Street day care was, but they said it did not have a state office license.

Police questioned the day care owner, but no charges have been issued, Schneider reported.

The New York City Medical Examiner’s office was working Monday night to determine the cause of Karl’s death, and the investigation into the day care – which cares for at least 14 other children – continued.

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