Four West Memphis child care workers accused of manslaughter; several arrested

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. – Arrest warrants were issued Friday for four suspects in the death of a 5-year-old child at a child care facility in West Memphis.

Felicia Phillips, Pamela Robinson, Wanda Taylor and Kendra Washington were named as suspects of manslaughter in the case Friday by Deputy Prosecutor Tom Young of the Second Judicial District Prosecutor’s Office. Robinson, 43, and Washington, 40, were both in Crittenden County Jail as of noon Friday. 

On Monday, 5-year-old Christopher Gardener of West Memphis died at Ascent Children’s Health Services in West Memphis. He was left in a van for eight hours. The police took statements from the four after the Miranda Rights were read following the incident, Young said.

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“We have issued four warrants for four of the workers,” said Young to NEA Report. He confirmed they were the same four who were terminated by Ascent.

He said the charge the workers each face carries with it a penalty of three to ten years in the Arkansas Department of Correction, and/or a fine.

In this case, they acted recklessly, Young said. The reason they were charged with the more serious charge, instead of negligent homicide, is because the severity of the behavior as suspected by the prosecutor’s office, he explained.

Evidence was already strong enough in Young’s mind to pursue charges but DHS must still finish their investigation, he said.

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“When they do, we will look over the material they gathered but we feel obviously very confident to charge these people in the crime we’ve charged them with,” Young said. “Based on the information we have, there’s nothing we will discover that will change our minds. There may be more we discover or find that will certainly make it worse for these people.”

Each of the four will be charged following their arrest.


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Photo source: Mobile Patrol

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