By Aaron Organ
Lawsuit says caregivers put infant in “unsafe sleeping condition.”
A local couple has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the operators of a day care that they claim put the couple's 3-month-old son to sleep in a bed with several pillows before the child was found dead in October.The suit, filed Friday in Allen Superior Court by Dennis and Megan Oakley, alleges the negligence of Cindi Elsea and Jessica Thatcher contributed to the Oct. 20 death of Viktor Oakley. According to the suit, the pair run an advertised, reportedly certified day care out of Elsea's home.The Oakleys began sending Viktor and their 1-year-old son Lars to the facility, which they found on CraigsList.org, in September, the suit says.Neither Elsea nor Thatcher was available for comment.On Oct. 20, the suit says that Elsea put Viktor to sleep, on his stomach, on a bed surrounded by pillows, and left the infant unsupervised. Sometime later, the child was found unresponsive, not breathing and with no heartbeat, the suit says.Viktor was pronounced dead at Parkview North Hospital. An autopsy noted the boy was subjected to an “unsafe sleeping condition,” the suit says.Because Viktor was left on his stomach, near pillows, the suit alleges he was at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and therefore the day care operators are liable for his death. The suit says Elsea's actions were “reckless and negligent,” and that Thatcher failed to properly care for, oversee and supervise the infant.The suit asks for damages to compensate for the loss of Viktor, for counseling to cope with that loss, as well as for medical, funeral and burial expenses.