Day Care Owner Added to "Most Wanted" List

Jessica Tata, a 22-year-old day care owner in Houston, has been added to the FBI's 15 Most Wanted list in connection to a fire at her day care center that killed four children. Tata refused to talk to authorities after the February 24 fire and fled to Georgia. She's now believed to have gone on to Nigeria.

What the hell is going on with day care these days?

This story is insanely horrible, actually. Tata left seven kids in the home day care center alone and drove away somewhere. Authorities believe that the fire started because the stove was on, with a pot of oil on top of it. There were no other adults in the house. When Tata returned, laden with groceries, the house was on fire. Four children died in the blaze, and the remaining three were injured.

Tata is being charged with charged with six counts of reckless injury to a child, three counts of abandoning a child under 15 and four counts of manslaughter, according to CNN. Which will land her in jail for a long time if found guilty -- and if they manage to find her.

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Do they just let anyone open a day care center who wants to? Texas state regulations require the day care center operator to meet a number of qualifications in order to legally run the day care. They have to have documentation of these qualifications, their experience and education, etc. Which seems obvious. But then, how do irredeemably irresponsible people like Tata slip through the cracks?

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]


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