Day-care operator faces more charges in boy's drowning

Edwards
Edwards
Posted: March 06, 2013

THERE IS no dispute that Isear Jeffcoat, 7, drowned in a backyard swimming pool June 29 while frolicking with about 20 other students from Tianna's Terrific Tots day-care center.

But what must be sorted out in a courtroom is if the North Philadelphia day- care's operator, Tianna Edwards, is responsible for the boy's death.

Edwards, 31, who was arrested Jan. 18 on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, has been indicted by a state grand jury on dozens of additional charges, the District Attorney's Office announced Monday.

The panel indicted Edwards on 21 counts of endangering the welfare of children, 21 counts of recklessly endangering another person, welfare fraud, theft by deception, medical assistance fraud and tampering with public records.

Edwards, who has a 7-year-old son of her own, is being housed at the city's Riverside Correctional Facility for women, unable to post 10 percent of her $800,000 bail.

The drowning took place at the East Oak Lane home of Edwards' mother, on 8th Street near 66th Avenue, where center workers had taken the children, authorities said.

Edwards allegedly was gambling at the SugarHouse casino when Isear drowned.

"I'm curious to see the [surveillance] tapes from the casino," said Edwards' attorney, Tariq Karim El Shabazz, who added that he does not believe that his client is guilty of involuntary manslaughter nor the related counts.

Isear's mother filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last week against Edwards, alleging that she let an aide with a lengthy criminal record supervise the children. Authorities say the day-care was operating without a license, the Inquirer reported.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

 

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