North Las Vegas police announced that they have arrested an unlicensed caregiver and a baby sitter in two separate abuse cases that left one baby with permanent brain damage and another one dead.
The two suspects, Alejandra Robles, 36 and Cynthia Lavender, 54 both remain in a Las Vegas City jail. Officials say that neither woman has a prior history of child abuse with child protective services.
The first case of child abuse was reported on November 25 when Las Vegas police were called to a home near Craig road and Simmons street where the caller had mentioned an unresponsive 7-month-old child. The business called “Smiley Faces Daycare” was an unlicensed childcare facility. The baby was quickly transported to the University Medical Center where it was determined that the child had suffered permanent damage from head injuries.
Alejandra Robles who was an employee at the unlicensed day care claimed that she was looking after 8 children including two babies. She initially said that she had not caused any harm to the 7-month-old child. Robles was than administered a polygraph test which she failed. Following the test, Robles than told Las Vegas detectives what she had dropped the baby on the neck and head because she became frustrated with his continuous crying. Last week Robles was arrested on a count of child abuse with substantial bodily harm. The unlicensed day care was also issued several citations for operating without proper permits.
The very next day, Las Vegas police arrested Cynthia Lavender in connection with the death of a 5 month old boy who had been in her care, This case occurred on February 3 and the call came from a residence at 4701 Lawrence street near Losee and Lone Mountain roads. The caller stated that the baby was unresponsive. The infant was quickly transported to University Medical Center where he later died two days later. Lavender claimed that she was watching the infant and his two older brothers when the boy became unresponsive after falling off a bed. During the autopsy, it was found that the child had suffered many fractures to his leg and had a brain injury. Like Robles, Lavender, then changed her story after she failed the polygraph test. Lavender then claimed that she threw the baby against the wall on Jan 20 after she became frustrated with him and also dropped him on his head.
Lavender was then arrested on one count of murder and three counts of child abuse with substantial bodily harm. The baby’s mother, who was a friend of Lavender, had initially asked her about the bruises on the boy but she never alerted any authorities or childcare services.
In light of these two cases, law officials are urging parents to choose their child care providers carefully. “If you have a child, and you see anything that’s cause for concern, ask questions,” police spokesman officer Aaron Patty said during a press conference.. “If you notice a bruise, ask questions. If the child is complaining about something, ask questions.”