VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The grand jury has indicted Marlene Gail Rice on 11 various counts after a toddler was found dead at an unlicensed day care center where investigators say Rice was running out of her home.
Rice has been indicted on ten counts of Operating Facility or Agency Without a License and one count of Child Cruelty/Neglect/Abuse.
The child was found dead on August 15th, 2016.
During the preliminary hearing, four witnesses took the stand.
A detective testified that Ms. Rice told him she fed the baby, put her down for a nap in a pack and play, then later when she went to check on her, the baby was unresponsive. The detective said Rice picked the baby up, ran downstairs, set her down on the floor then called 91. Dispatchers talked her through CPR, but the baby died. An autopsy found the cause to be sudden unexplained infant death.
“There was no bruising, there was no foul play that the autopsy noted. That child was down for a nap, and the autopsy supports that that child died suddenly,” Rice’s attorney Richard Doummar told reporters.
Officers testified that 17 children were found in the home the day the baby died. Police said Rice was watching all 17 children by herself, with no help from other adults. A responding officer testified at least eight infants were found upstairs, several children were playing downstairs, and some kids were outside playing in the pool.
Prosecutors argue Ms. Rice neglected the children, and the baby's death could have been prevented. But the defense says Rice did nothing to cause the baby to die.
“Whether she had one child there or whether she had 100 children there, would not have had any impact whatsoever on the wellbeing of that child,” Doummar said.
A trial date of February 28th has been set in the case.