Investigator: Accused murderer sued in daycare death

10:46 AM, May 3, 2012   |    comments
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NEWTON FALLS -- A former daycare worker in this Trumbull County town near Warren has been sued following the death of Jacob Culp, a 3-month-old who the medical examiner said died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

Sarah Kaiser, 29, is charged with murder in the baby's death.  The child had been attending the First Church of God daycare in Newton Falls.

Jacob's parents, Jennifer and Jonathon Culp, Jr. spoke exclusively to the Investigator Tom Meyer.

"I wouldn't wish this on anybody," said Jennifer Culp. "She (Kaiser) took my baby. That's all I can say."

The family's attorney, Chris Patno of Cleveland, described the case as "one of the worst and most horrific I've ever seen."

"This just doesn't happen on its own. This happened because someone did something," Patno said.

Baby Jacob was allegedly being watched by Kaiser when police received a call that the infant suddenly stopped breathing.

Emergency medical crews rushed the child to the hosptial, but he never regained consciousness. He died five days later. Police and prosecutors aren't discussing the case.

"There's one fact -- a 3-month-old child is not here. Nothing brings the child back. Nothing," said the infant's grandfather.

Channel 3 News tried to talk with Kaiser as she left court one day. She declined to answer any questions. Kaiser has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jacob was described in his obituary as a happy, smiling baby who was just learning to blow bubbles. The parents have left the nursery at their home intact.

"I mean, this is all we've got," said Jennifer Culp.

"When I need some time to get close to Jacob, I come in here and spend some time, "said Jacob's father. "It's hard."

The Culps felt they did their homework when researching daycares in the area.

"I'm a teacher, so we talked with other teachers, went to open houses and asked a lot of questions," Jonathon Culp said.

Daycare inspection records, which are available on-line at the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, shows the First Church of God passed four inspections in two years.

Records show Kaiser had undergone a criminal background check as required by law.

Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 12 children died while under the watch of daycare facilities in 2010.

More than 2,700 children were victims of abuse and neglect, including 33 in Ohio.

"You need to make sure who's watching your kids," said Jonathon Culp.

As part of the criminal investigation, the parents could not be alone with their two-year-old son for more than two months.  Both parents passed lie detector exams.

Is there anything other parents can learn from this tragedy?

"Enjoy your children. That's the biggest thing. Make sure you hug your kids today," Jonathon Culp said.   


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