Baby Dies At Smyrna Daycare - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Baby Dies At Smyrna Daycare

SMYRNA, Tenn.- The Tennessee Department of Human Services shut down a daycare this week after 6-month-old girl died while napping.

Investigators are still trying to figure out how the little girl died, but they have determined that the daycare operator did not comply with state law.

A preliminary autopsy report is expected soon.

Five days after Landrie Grace Bland died, the state secured a restraining order and ultimately an injunction "to protect the public from further harm."

The target was homeowner Judy Rankhorn, who was watching the child when she died.

"The child was in a back room, and somehow there was a blanket that was over top of the child or wrapped around the child's neck. So, that's really part of the investigation," said DHS Spokeswoman Michelle Mowery Johnson.

 Smryna detectives are heading up an investigation. Authorities will determine whether Rankhorn did anything criminal.

But DHS insists she was in violation because she exceeded the maximum amount of children permitted for a daycare her size.

"Judy Rankhorn was keeping six children," according to court documents.

NewsChannel 5 did not get answer at Rankhorn's home when a reporter tried to get a comment from her.

Neighbors are reluctant to believe Rankhorn did anything wrong.

But more and more daycare facilities are making the news, such as one in Macon County accused of confining youngsters dangerously close to water heaters and electrical boxes and another unlicensed daycare in Sumner County in which the owner was arrested for abuse. So, DHS is taking no chances.

"We are out there, making unannounced visits," Johnson said. "And if somebody's operating illegally, we hope the public will call us and let us know that hey, 'I've got a suspicion that so and so down the street is running an illegal childcare operation. Check it out!' We'll check it out. And if they are, we'll shut them down."

If anyone suspects a child care violation, they are encouraged to can call the Tennessee Department of Human Service's Complaint line, which is 1-800-462-8261. 

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