Melissa Garcia Rivera was trusted with the life of an 8-month old child, but now she’s facing manslaughter charges. The unlicensed Arkansas babysitter was arrested after the infant died with a fever of 100.5 degrees.
Melissa Garcia Rivera, 21, was arrested on Oct. 12, after an eight-month-old child entrusted to her care passed away two days earlier, according to Arkansas Online. The 8-month-old was reportedly taken to Mercy Medical Hospital by Melissa’ fiancé, Marco Antonio Garcia, after she discovered the infant was not breathing. Marco said he attempted CPR, according to 4029 News, but couldn’t get the child to breathe. When Marco and the baby arrived at the hospital, the infant had a temperature of 100.5 degrees and her clothes were soaked in liquid, thought to be sweat. Sadly, it was too late. The child was deceased upon arrival.
An autopsy wasn’t inconclusive regarding the exact cause of the infant’s death. The medical examiner said that they’re waiting on the toxicology report for further information. However, Medical staff told authorities the baby showed no signs of physical injuries. Marco, when speaking to the police, said that his fiancé was too panicked to call 911, which is why he drove the baby to the hospital.
Melissa was reportedly watching six children at an unlicensed daycare center out of her home at the time of the incident. She changed her account of what happened multiple times, per Arkansas Online. First she said she had merely found the child wasn’t breathing, but later reportedly said that she had placed two pillows on top of the baby to help her sleep. The pillows were meant to stop the baby from pushing herself up while lying on her stomach. She later reportedly said that two pillows had been placed beside the infant, with a blanket covering the baby.
When Melissa went to check on the infant, the child was lying on her stomach with the blanket almost entirely covering her. Melissa admitted to pulling the blanket over the child’s head, to “just [try and] keep it dark so [the infant] would go to sleep.” Melissa also went back and forth on whether or not she was frustrated with the baby, but insisted to the police that she did not intentionally kill the child.
Over the course of the interviews, Melissa admitted she was afraid because she was trying to obtain U.S. citizenship, she didn’t want the child to be taken away and didn’t want to go to jail. As of Oct. 14, she remained in custody with no bail set. She’s scheduled to appear in a Benton County Circuit Court on Nov. 20.
Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy.