SAYRE, Pa. (WETM) – Kelly Jo Lee, the owner of what police called an unregulated daycare in Sayre where a three-month-old child died in May 2019, was sentenced on June 19 to 3-23 months and 29 days in the Bradford County Correction Facility.
Lee, 50, will also serve 12 months of probation and fines of $1,750, plus court costs, for the offenses of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a misdemeanor of the first degree, and Tampering with Evidence, a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Bradford County District Attorney Chad Salsman tells 18 News that Lee is currently under house arrest due to the work release program currently being suspended. Once the program is reinstated, Lee will re-enter the jail to serve her sentence, something Salsman says he agreed to and that he was “being merciful.”
According to court documents, on May 2, 2019, officers responded to a call for an unresponsive male infant on Wilawana Road.
Lee then told police that she had given the infant a bottle of formula and laid him down in a crib. When the boy’s father came to pick him up, Lee found the infant limp. They performed “back blows” on the baby, and a combination of blood and formula came out of the infant’s mouth.
The infant was taken to Robert Packer Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Lee later told police she lied about how the infant was sleeping, saying he fell asleep in her arms and she placed him on a bed and positioned him on his left side and put a pillow behind his back. She later found him face down on the bed with blood on his face, and that she hid a blanket with the child’s blood on it.
Lee told police she “knows it is recommended infants are required to sleep on their backs but she disagrees and won’t do that,” and that she was not licensed in Pennsylvania as a childcare provider, nor did she have CPR or basic first aid that is required by law.
Under the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services requirements for out of home care provided, the facility shall be approved when seven or more children not related to the care provider and are 15 years or younger in any part of a 24-hour period.
There were 11 children 4 years old or younger in the home at the time, and only one was a relative of Lee’s. She was also advised at the time of 15 violations of the Pennsylvania Child Day Care Center General requirements, including a lack of insurance, emergency plans, and first aid training.
Lee originally faced 11 counts of child endangerment and was arrested in October 2019.
The identify of the boy was not publicly released by police.