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Daycare Fire Kills 4 Kids Left Alone & Babysitter’s ‘Remorse’ Is Hard to Swallow

by Jeanne Sager on November 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Jessica TataJessica Tata was a woman who parents trusted with their kids. But when a fire at her daycare killed four children and injured three more, Jessica Tata went from beloved babysitter to murder suspect. Now it's up to a jury to decide whether the woman cops say left seven kids at home while she went shopping should spend life in prison.

Oh to be on that jury, huh? Jessica Tata has said she didn't intend for the children to die. But can you imagine leaving seven children under 3 home alone and not expecting something bad would happen?

It defies the bounds of logic. Spend a little time with even one child that young, and you know that it would be dangerous to leave them alone for any length of time. You may not know what will go wrong, but you can pretty much guarantee something will. This is the nature of youth. They do not yet contemplate the risk of their actions, and they are unable to calculate evasive maneuvers to avoid danger.

I say this as a parent, someone who won't even leave a fairly responsible 7-year-old home alone so I can run to the post office (which is within walking distance from my house). But Jessica Tata isn't "just" a parent. She's a daycare owner, a woman who positioned herself as an authority on caring for kids. She told moms and dads that they could trust her with their kids. And it was under her care that four children died and three more were seriously injured because they were completely helpless in that fire.

Jessica Tata's murder trial has gone back and forth over the cause of the blaze that took the lives of Elias Castillo, Elizabeth Kojah, Kendyll Stradford, and Shomari Dickerson. Prosecutors say the babysitter left a pot of hot oil on the stove, and it started the fire. Defense attorneys say it was a faulty refrigerator that burned the house down.

But does it matter? Does it really matter if this woman who was charged with taking care of seven kids knew about the fire risk? We have a babysitter who is accused of abandoning seven kids, one as young as 16 months old. As a result, four children died. Case closed. 

What do you think should be done with Jessica Tata? Do you think it's fair to say she didn't know something bad would happen to the children?

 

Image via The Harris County Sheriff's office

Filed Under: crime, child abuse, death

Comments

24
  • hello...
    --

    hellokd87

    November 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Lock her up and throw away the key. People might try to reason a neglectful parent as citing sleep deprivation, post partum depression, etc. because well, they're parents. But someone who has the COMPLETE care of these children, someone these parents placed their childs lives in HER hands, should be held accountable. By accepting those children into her daycare she was well aware of her responsibilities and that now needs to acknowledge her accountability. I wouldn't leave my 8 yr old stepson alone for 5 min (and he's a straight A student, very intelligent & mature for his age) much less a toddler or infant even. That woman needs to pay for her negligence that cost four innocent lives.


  • Blues...
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    Blueshark77

    November 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Yes, she does deserve life in prison. She knowingly left the oil burning on the stove, even told the worker at Target about it. She knew that leaving the children on their own was wrong, but did it anyway. She was supposed to be the responsible adult, she was paid to be that person, and decided shopping was more important than the childrens' safety. Of course she didn't intend for the children to die, but she sure as hell didn't try very hard to make sure they didn't, and it was the result of her actions that led to 4 preventable deaths. 


  • dirti...
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    dirtiekittie

    November 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    there is absolutely, 100% no excuse for this. she was completely negligent and responsible. there's no question, whether it was the fridge, the hot oil - heck, it could have been the dvd player backfiring for all it matters - the point is that she left thsoe children alone and to fend for themselves, and that bad judgement led to horrible consequences.

    she murdered those babies by negligent actions and should pay heavily for what she did. i can't even imagine what is going through the minds of those poor parents. my heart absolutely aches for the families.


  • Nia
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Nia

    November 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM
    Of course it matters what caused the fire. If there was nothing she could have done to prevent the fire from starting then she shouldn't be charged as if there was. Charge her for leaving the kids alone, but if she didn't do something that lead to the fire starting, then don't charge her for that.
  • nhamp...
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    nhampton401

    November 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    No it sure as heck does not matter what started that fire. SHE LEFT CHILDREN ALONE BY THEMSELVES!!! The cause of the fire is irrelevant. She should've been there to scoop those babies up and get them out of the house safely. Now 4 families have to bury their babies because of this irresponsible person. How selfish. Leaving 7 kids alone all under the age of 3 just so you can go shopping. Of course something bad is going to happen!!!


  • luvto...
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    luvtobeamama

    November 12, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    This is not something that just happens, leaving children unattended can be avoided!! Can we all just focus on the fact that four innocent lives were lost and now there are families who are grieving their loss!! This should be an open and shut case for any jury, GUILTY!!!  This woman should not be allowed to enjoy one more day of life, not even in a prison cell!!! I am not God and would never wish death on anyone but there are some circumstances that I believe deserve the death penalty and THIS IS ONE OF THEM!!!

     


  • Histo...
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    HistoryMamaX3

    November 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    The woman left 7 children under the age of 3 alone and they died or sustained injuries. No matter what happened at the home while she was gone, the outcome is 100% her fault.


  • IKnow...
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    IKnow0101

    November 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    @ Nia it really doesn't matter what caused the fire.  The point is she left 7 children under the age of three home alone.  If they had drown, fell down a flight a stairs, etc. she is negligent because it happen while she was suppose to be supervising them.  I remember when this happen and she fled the country at one point and returned admitting that she left a pot of oil on the stove so she could run to the store.


  • Jamay...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Jamay Xui Jones

    November 12, 2012 at 4:31 PM
    Absolutely in no way qualified to look over anyone's kids. Obama voter!
  • wolfb...
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    wolfblossom

    November 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    These children were too young to be left alone. That is why their parents took them to a daycare provider;to provide the paid service of caring for their children. If the parents wanted them left alone they would have been home, not at daycare. It does not matter WHY she left them alone or whether she could have anticipated a fire; she is grossly negligent and did not provide even the barest minimum care of complete supervision a daycare provider is expected to give. These poor babies should have never been unattended for even one second since they were in a daycare setting.


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