UPDATE: Case against former daycare owner thrown out

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The former owner of a Richmond daycare had nothing to say tonight, after a judge dismissed her case. Valerot Whitlow was charged in the death of a child, left in her daycare's van. But late this evening, the judge said it wasn't her fault.

The family of the little boy who died in that daycare van was visibly stunned by the judge's decision to throw out this case. They had nothing to say as they left the courthouse and neither did Valerot Whitlow.

When we caught up with her, she refused to say anything and told us to talk to her attorney. Whitlow went on trial today for felony child neglect in the death of 13-month old Andrew Johnson. The child was left in a van by Whitlow's son Keishawn Whitfield last July.

The state medical examiner testified that the toddler was left in the van for almost eight hours in 84 degree heat, though it would've felt like 120 degrees inside the van. But after the prosecution rested its case, the defense submitted a motion to dismiss the charge against Whitlow -- arguing that while she owned the Yellow Brick Road Daycare...it was her son whose actions caused the child's death, not hers.

The judge agreed and said there was no willful or intentional act on Whitlow's part. We spoke with Whitlow's attorney after the ruling.

"I'm very saddened that this tragedy occurred in the first place, but I am pleased with the judge's decision. I think that the judge followed the law to the 'T' and I know that my client looks forward to resuming her life, and restoring some normalcy to her life. But I do know that she is very regretful about what happened," said Devika Davis, Whitlow's Attorney.

Whitlow's daycare was closed last year. It's unclear if she can try to get another license to reopen it. Her son, Keishawn Whitfield, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the child's death, began serving his six-month sentence of home confinement, today.

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