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Posted: Wednesday, June 18th 2014 at 12:53pm

Clermont child care center under investigation

By Staff
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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CLERMONT - State child welfare agencies have joined the Hall County Sheriff's Office in an investigation of a child care center in Clermont.

The Hall County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday that sheriff's investigators and those from the Department of Family and Children's Services and Bright from the Start, the state agency that governs child care facilities, are trying to determine how a 16-month-old boy received serious burns to his left leg and stomach.

Authorities said the mother reported that she picked up her child Friday from Discovering Basics on Cleveland Highway.

"The mother observed a thick lotion that was applied to the child's left leg and inquired as to what had happened. She was informed basically that the child presented with a bug bite that appeared to spread or look irritated," Hall County Sheriff's Deputy Nicole Bailes said.

Bailes said the mother looked at the boy's leg and decided to go to the hospital.

"She took the child to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where she was informed that the child has second and third degree burns to his stomach and his left leg. The child was then taken to Augusta's burn center," Bailes said.

Bailes said the boy was treated there and has since been discharged and is home with his mother.

"I do believe he will have follow-up visits that he will have to have due to the severe burns on the left leg," Bailes said.

Hall County investigators were alerted to the case Monday by DFCS.

Local authorities have not publicly released the names of those involved.

When contacted, Discovering Basics owner Sue Depree said she was unable to comment on the matter, referring all questions to her attorney, Jim Walters of Gainesville.

Walters returned a call, stating that there was not much he could could comment as the investigation continued. "We are cooperating in every way to see what took place," Walters said. He said there several unanswered questions that needed to be answered. "What happened to the child, where it happened, when it happened and who was involved when it happened."

Bailes said sheriff's department investigators were interviewing employees of the daycare.

"Right now, our sole concern is to determine if there was a criminal act that took place, as far as the Hall County Sheriff's Office position goes," Bailes said.
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