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Officials: Neglect led to child care death

A woman faces felony neglect charges after a 4-year-old tells authorities his rough handling caused an infant's death.

A suburban Boca Raton grandmother's neglect caused the March 15 death of a 5-week-old at her illegal child care business, the State Attorney's Office said.

Carmen Trujillo, 56, turned herself in at the Palm Beach County jail Tuesday. She faces a charge of neglect of a child causing great bodily harm, a second-degree felony, in connection with Dustin Mance's death.

Trujillo, who could receive 15 years in prison if convicted, told a judge she could not afford an attorney now that she doesn't have a job. A public defender was appointed, and she was released on her own recognizance.

A 4-year-old _ one of 12 children Trujillo was caring for _ told investigators his rough handling of Dustin caused the baby's death when Trujillo wasn't watching, according to an arrest report. Trujillo disregarded a half dozen safety and licensing requirements _ negligence that led to Dustin's death, officials said. Authorities are seeking a fine of $500 for the licensing violation.

Assistant State Attorney Chuck Burton, who oversees the crimes against children unit, said Trujillo wasn't charged with manslaughter because she didn't directly cause the baby's death or intend to harm him. Still, her actions did rise to the level of criminal behavior, Burton said. "She was unlicensed; she had been warned; she had not been properly trained," he said.

Dustin's mother, Charity Mance, 20, on Tuesday told the Palm Beach Post she wasn't ready to talk about the arrest or her son's death.

Trujillo told investigators she put Dustin down for a nap about 1 p.m., then discovered he was not breathing at 3 p.m. and called 911. Paramedics found her standing over the baby on the kitchen floor when they arrived about 3:30. Dustin was pronounced dead at a hospital about three hours later.

It was unclear when the 4-year-old assaulted Dustin. He told a sheriff's investigator that he tripped over Dustin and hit his head while walking through the 10- by 12-foot room crowded with 10 other playing and sleeping children. The boy said he was angered, and kicked and pushed Dustin under a playpen in which two other children were jumping. The child said that when he saw something was wrong with the baby, he put him back where he found him and covered him with a blanket.

He said he hoped Trujillo, who was in another room preparing baby formula, wouldn't notice.

An autopsy showed Dustin's head was split from ear to ear and down both sides; he also suffered a broken rib.

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