COLUMBIA (AP) — As Greenville County deputies began investigating the death of a 3-month-old girl at a home daycare, the owner insisted she was only watching the maximum of six children she was licensed to care for.
But officers found 14 more children hiding in the basement with the owner’s 16-year-old daughter, two more kids unsupervised in a bedroom where a loaded gun was found on a bookshelf and another toddler no one was watching in the backyard, according to arrest warrants.
Pamela Wood, 49, has been charged with child neglect, obstruction of justice and a violation of child daycare licensing. But she likely won’t face any charges in the baby’s death because there is no evidence she directly caused the child to die, sheriff’s office spokesman Drew Pinciaro said.
Wood was arrested Friday and released on bond. It wasn’t known if she had an attorney and a message left at her home was not returned Monday.
Someone called 911 on Feb. 21 after Kellie Martin was found unconscious in the crib. Her cause of death has not been determined because authorities are awaiting toxicology tests, Greenville County Coroner Park Evans said.
“It does appear that unsafe sleeping conditions will contribute to the death,” Evans said.
Wood is facing an obstruction of justice charge because she did not cooperate with officers the day the child died and later during the investigation. She also tried several times to get into her house while officers were searching it, deputies said.
Along with the loaded gun, authorities found alcohol and cleaning products under Wood’s kitchen sink, which had no childproof locks. She also had been cited before for taking care of too many children, according to arrest warrants.