Local News

Child in Day Care Died from Head Trauma,...

Posted July 9, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Authorities say a 4-month-old boy found dead Wednesday in an unlicensed home day care died of head injuries.

The owners of the home, Mark and Tracy Stidham, say they did nothing to harm Bailey Tippett. 4-month-old infant found dead Wednesday. Mark Stidham, the husband of day care manager, Tracy Stidham, told WRAL that his wife was extremely sorry she left the infant alone with her 12-year-old daughter and six other children, including the Stidhams' 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, while she ran errands.

Tracy Stidham's day care center at 7425 Longstreet Drive has been closed down pending the results of a police investigation. Stidham says she was in the process of filing for a proper day care center when the incident happened.

According to a search warrant, "The child appeared to have suffered a trauma, specifically an injury to the skull and a discoloring around the eyes." A preliminary autopsy confirmed the nature of the injury.

State and county child protection officials interviewed the Stidham's at their house for more than a hour.

Neighbor Roslyn Fowler said her daughter went over to the Stidham's day care to help with the children, but never noticed anything unusual.

"My daughter would go over there sometimes and help her with the kids, but my daughter never said anything bad about her or that she mistreated her child," Fowler said.

Seven-year-old Nicholas Silver was one of seven children inside the day care when Bailey's body was discovered. Silver's mother, Cassandra, says her son phoned her during all of the commotion. She could hear a woman crying in the background.

For information about child care centers, call the Child Care Resource and Referral Center at 919-571-6659.