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'If my daycare was unfit, my daycare would have been closed' — owner denies blame for baby's death

Posted: 5:56 PM, Jun 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-25 13:54:59-04
Danielle Townsend
Di'Yanni Griffi
Nana's Home Daycare

CLEVELAND — The owner of Nana's Home Daycare in Cleveland insists she is not to blame for the death of a two-month-old who died after spending several hours there on Tuesday.

"I would never harm anybody's baby," said Danielle Townsend. "I have a child of my own."

Townsend said Di'Yanni Griffin's mother dropped off the infant and her three older brothers at the in-home daycare Tuesday morning. Townsend said Di'Yanni had appeared sick for the last couple of weeks.

Around 2 p.m., Townsend said the little girl's mother, Taylor Bush, texted her letting Townsend know that she was picking up her daughter for a doctor's appointment. Townsend said a couple minutes later, she received a call from her sister who she'd left in charge of the daycare that afternoon.

"My sister said 'Call the mother,'" said Townsend. "I said, 'What's wrong?' She said the baby is breathing fast."

Townsend said she tried calling Bush, but the call went to voicemail. She said Bush showed up a few minutes later, picked up her daughter and went upstairs to the family's apartment.

Then, Townsend said, her phone rang again. It was her sister explaining the ambulance was there and they were performing CPR on the baby.

"The baby was breathing when she gave Taylor Bush the baby," said Townsend. "The baby was never dead. The baby was never cold. She was breathing fast."

Townsend admits not telling her sister to call 911 or get the baby help when she called to report the "fast" breathing. She also insisted both she and her sister are certified in CPR, even though 5 On Your Side Investigators discovered Nana's Home Daycare was cited in November, and then again this month after inspectors found the provider and her substitute did not have current CPR certifications.

"Our CPR has to be renewed and we know what to do," said Townsend. "We have to do ours this month."

There are also questions about the number of children inside the daycare when Di'Yanni began having breathing problems.

"When Di'Yanni was in there, the total was still seven," said Townsend. "She makes the seventh right there."

But when 5 On Your Side Investigators pointed out that Nana's Home Daycare is only licensed for up to six children, Townsend said the child was never actually enrolled in the daycare.

"I was not supposed to watch Di'Yanni," said Townsend. "I did that young lady a favor. That's all I did."

Inspectors cited the daycare for four violations after Di'Yanni's death. Those violations include not having records for the two-month-old and failing to report "the incident that resulted in the death of a child," according to the inspector. The state and county are working to determine what, if anything, will happen to the daycare's license to operate.

"If my daycare was unfit, my daycare would have been closed," said Townsend. "My daycare is not closed."

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office has not determined how Di'Yanni Griffin died.

RELATED: Mother says 2-month-old daughter was unresponsive when she picked her up from daycare