A Virginia daycare owner has been charged this week with the murder of a toddler girl in her care, months after the child's death and allegations of abuse emerged.
Jessica Cherry, 37, of Norfolk, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder for the August death of 2-year-old Kaylee Thomas, the Norfolk police announced in a Tuesday press release. The arrest comes after a medical examiner determined that Thomas, whose cause of death was previously undetermined, died of what was determined a homicide.
Police had responded to Cherry’s home daycare operation in Norfolk on the afternoon of Aug. 18 to find Thomas unresponsive. She was transferred to a nearby children’s hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
As police were investigating the death, they obtained footage from a Ring camera at the location, which captured reflections off a dark television screen, that appeared to show abuse, WAVY reported. The footage showed Cherry covering an infant’s nose and mouth with a cloth as well as her slapping another child.
Cherry was arrested in September and was charged then with felony attempted malicious wounding, two counts of felony abuse and neglect of a child, and two counts of felony child endangerment, as a result.
Exactly how investigators believe Thomas was murdered is unclear.
The child is remembered for being bright and affectionate. She knew her ABCs, could count up to 15, and was a fan of hugs and kisses, according to WAVY.
Cherry is currently held without bond. It’s not clear if she has a lawyer. In addition to the murder and abuse allegations, prosecutors have accused Cherry of running an unlicensed daycare facility.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.