An unlicensed Hemet daycare operator whose inattention led to a 7-month-old girl's suffocation death pleaded guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and was immediately sentenced to five years felony probation.
Denise Renee Worman, 55, was arrested and charged in September 2017 following a nearly six-month-long investigation into the death of Addison Watkins.
During a pretrial hearing at the Banning Justice Center, Worman admitted the manslaughter charge under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
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Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan certified the terms of the plea deal and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense. In addition to probation, Worman was ordered to spend six months in a sheriff's work release program, for the duration of which she will have to be employed or going to school.
Dugan also directed that the defendant attend child protection classes for a year, and as a condition of her probation, not provide care to any minors, except ones who may be related to her.
According to Hemet police and fire officials, Addison and her then-3-year-old brother were left in Worman's care on the morning of March 27, 2017, as they had been on multiple prior occasions.
Worman operated an unregistered daycare out of her residence in the 1200 block of Stepstone Court, near Silkstone Drive, according to the California Department of Social Services, which initiated its own investigation.
Police said the defendant placed Addison and her sibling in a bean bag chair while she tended to other business in the house, and in the time she was not watching the children, Addison rolled face-down in the bag, at which point her brother sat on her. When Worman returned, Addison was not breathing.
Lt. Eddie Pust said paramedics arrived within a few minutes and attempted to resuscitate the tot, who was pronounced dead on arrival at Hemet Valley Medical Center.
The ensuing investigation revealed that the baby's parents had left her brother in the home numerous times over a two-year period, without any known complications, Pust said.
The defendant's daycare operation was shut down.
She had no documented prior misdemeanor or felony convictions.