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5 indicted in death of 4-month-old at Red Bay day care

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The child was found unresponsive in the bed and pronounced dead at the hospital

Down an old gravel road in Belmont, Mississippi, to the right of a winged cross, there's a small family cemetery.

There, you'll find the grave of 4-month-old Autumn Wells.

"She was the whole center of my world," her mother, Taylor Wells, told Ethan Foster of WTVA, WAAY 31's sister station. "She brought all of us together. And she changed my life."

Autumn was born in October 2021, and she died in March. 

But her mother said it still feels like yesterday.

"I just — everything seems pointless," Taylor Wells said. "You know, I get up and go to work. And before, everything I did was for her ... and now, I don't know what to do, and I don't have a purpose anymore."

Wells works at Tiffin Motor Homes in Red Bay. Her daughter was in day care just down the street. 

On March 9, Autumn was taken in a private vehicle by an employee at the day care to the Red Bay Hospital emergency room. 

"Our department received a call from the Red Bay Hospital, stating that an infant had came in, unresponsive, and they requested for law enforcement and a coroner," said Red Bay Police Chief Janna Jackson. 

The Franklin County coroner, Charles Adcox, later told Taylor Wells the news no parent ever wants to hear. 

"The child was found unresponsive at the day care and was deceased at the hospital," Jackson said. 

A report by the Alabama Department of Human Resources found a number of safety violations at the day care, including improper sleeping practices for children and staffing issues.

The report also found Autumn was put to sleep on her stomach, with a blanket covering her. This was not only a violation of a state performance standard, it also likely made it much harder to see her having any breathing problems.

DHR also stated day care employees initially lied to Red Bay Police about how Autumn was put to sleep. Red Bay Police arrested the owner of the day care, three former employees and a parent of a former employee.

They've since been indicted by a Franklin County grand jury.

Tiny Tigers Pre-K was ordered to close one week after Autumn's death, and it's been closed for more than three months. Autumn's family hopes that others can avoid the pain and heartache that they've had to endure. 

"If I could say anything to parents, it would be: Know your day care, know who works there, know what's going on, and if you see something, say something," said Taylor Wells. "If it's your child, if it's someone else's child, don't worry about being embarrassed. Don't worry about being wrong."

Court records show Angelene Chamblee, owner of Tiny Tigers, has been charged with six counts of violating the Child Care Act and two counts of second-degree forgery related to falsified employee records and improper staffing.

Payton Nicole Gann and Madison Jade McCalpin are each charged with one count of false reporting to law enforcement and one count of manslaughter. The indictment says one of them placed Autumn on her stomach on a "Boppy" pillow and left her there "for an extended period of time," then lied about the incident to police.

Teia Kay Gann and Hannah Grace Letson are each charged with one count of tampering with a witness. The indictment says they tried to get people to lie about how Autumn was put to sleep and who was in the room. 

Letson is additionally charged with tampering with physical evidence. The indictment says she "threw away numerous medications she believed to be in violation of State of Alabama DHR regulations."

Those arrested included the former owner of Tiny Tigers Pre-K, three former employees, and the parent of a former employee.

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