Police investigating child’s death at Homestead daycare

Police are investigating what led to the unexpected death Tuesday of a toddler at a daycare center. His body was found outside near a van, according to police.

Dominicue Andrews, 18 months old, whose nickname was Paw Paw, was found dead Tuesday at a daycare center in Homestead.

By David C. Walter, Christina Veiga and Diana Moskovitz

Homicide detectives were investigating the death of an 18-month-old boy at a Homestead daycare center Tuesday.

The boy was found shortly after 3:30 p.m. by paramedics responding to a call of a child in distress at the Jomiba Learning Center, 1005 N. Krome Ave., according to Miami-Dade police.

His body was found outside the center’s building near a van, Homestead police spokesman Detective Fernando Morales said. Because it is an unexplained death, Miami-Dade homicide detectives took over the investigation.

Relatives said the boy’s name was Dominicue Andrews. His nickname was Paw Paw.

The daycare center quickly morphed into a crime scene. Police officers and the Florida Department of Children & Families arrived. The building and its van were blocked off by police cruisers and crime-scene tape. A tiny tarp covered the boy’s body.

Family members gathered and waited for news. So did other parents who came to pick up their children.

Eli Lovo, 29, said he was at the Wells Fargo bank branch across the street when he heard a scream come the daycare center. He looked over and saw the boy on the ground. He said he recognized both a daycare employee and the driver of the van, which is used to bring children to and from the center, because he lives in a nearby apartment.

It looked like the boy had been moved, he said. “One of the daycare staff threw an empty bottle at the driver,” Lovo said. “She was saying, ‘How could you do this? How could you do this?’?”

Police would not confirm Lovo’s account Tuesday night.

Fabian Hall, Dominicue’s uncle, said he remembered seeing his nephew clad in a gray shirt about 8 a.m., when he dropped off his own daughter and son.

He got a call from the center about 3 p.m., he said, asking whether he had picked up his nephew. Hall said no.

“When I said no, she got hysterical,” Hall said, “and told me, ‘Come over.’?”

Hall was one of the many family members who hurried to the daycare center. Even after hearing that Dominicue had died, Hall said he did not believe it until he saw the family’s pastor arrive. “I’m still trying not to believe it,” he said.

The family had few answers Tuesday night.

Dominicue’s grandmother, who took care of him, said he had been picked up by the daycare van at 7:35 that morning. Tuesday night, she stood outside the daycare center, sobbing and asking why she couldn’t see her child.

The boy’s 17-year-old father, Rashaad Easterly, drove to the center from Miami. He stood outside, and told The Miami Herald what it was like to take the boy to the park and watch television with him. “We would watch SportsCenter all day,” he said.

Relatives said the child lived with his mother and grandmother.

“He was such a special little kid, to be taken from us at such a young age,” said his great-grandmother, Christine Prescott, 60, of Richmond Heights.

Employees of the daycare center stayed at the building late into the night, talking to police. Miami-Dade police spokesman Detective Roy Rutland said police were interviewing the owner as well as the driver of the van.

The Jomiba Learning Center, records show, had been open less than a year. State business records indicate that the company, Jomiba Corp., has a president, Misael Ramos. It incorporated on April 3, 2010, records said. During DCF’s most recent inspection, it served 66 children and had nine staff members, according to the state agency’s records.

In three inspections conducted by DCF, the facility was cited once for noncompliance — for not having the required “Child Care Attestation of Good Moral Character” paperwork properly completed for all child-care personnel, according to a DCF report dated June 7.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/12/2311266/police-investigating-child-death.html#ixzz1RxBHqrTF