Owner of day care under investigation speaks out

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The owner of a day care under fire is telling her story Thursday night. Her son is at the center of a tragic incident that left a 13 month old baby dead. Keishawn Whitfield charged with felony child neglect, has since been released on bond. Thursday, the day care re-opened.

Yellow Brick Road Day Care holds up to 40 children on any given day, but this morning only a handful of children showed up.

The day care opened its doors as it has every day for the last decade. Inside things were far from normal. Owner Valerot Whitlow's son, Keishawn Whitfield, is the center of the death investigation of 13 month old Andrew Johnson.

"Our heart is filled with so many mixed emotions and we are truly sorry," said Yellow Brick Road Day care owner, Valerot Whitlow.

The details are still unclear, but we know Whitfield drove the day care van to his Garland Avenue home that day and left the baby inside for hours. Whitfield charged with felony child neglect, has since been released on bond. Investigators and inspectors from the Department of Social Services are continuing to look into the case. They've allowed the center to re-open, with some exceptions.

"They have to do their job and if they can make me better, I'm on board. But the transportation part is the part we have to get straight before we really start functioning back," said Whitlow.

And for that reason, Whitlow says only a few children could make it to the day care Thursday. But her intent is to stay operational.

"I do what I do because I love what I do, I do it for the quality, its quality and I got one child I'm still going to give that quality," Whitlow said.

Meanwhile, Whitfield and the staff are seeking counseling. But Whitlow says the greatest healing has been in the form of understanding and support from the day care parents and the community.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the owner hopes to be back at full capacity by next week.

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