Father in day care death case: ‘We’re still trying to cope’


Highlights

Police say day care owner waited 12 minutes to call 911 after she discovered the baby was not breathing.

Day care owner’s attorneys have suggested that the delay was caused by panic.

The last time David Havins saw his infant son alive, Brody was in his crib, kicking his feet and smiling.

It was early on Jan. 13, 2016, and Havins was getting ready to leave his Georgetown home and go to his job doing electrical work in South Austin. But before he left, he stopped by Brody’s crib. He kissed the baby on the head and said goodbye.

“I said, ‘Go back to sleep. Mommy’s trying to sleep,’ ” Havins said Monday in Williamson County District Court.

Brody died after choking on a mitten at All About Kids Daycare. The day care’s owner, Holly Harrison, pleaded guilty last week to tampering with evidence and no contest to a felony charge of injury to a child for what happened on that day.

This week, District Judge Rick Kennon is presiding over a sentencing hearing during which prosecutors will try to persuade him to give Harrison prison time. The hearing is expected to take most of the week, with 18 witnesses planned for the prosecution alone.

Police have said Harrison waited 12 minutes to call 911 after she discovered the baby was not breathing at her day care at 1011 Serenada Drive in Georgetown. Harrison’s attorneys have suggested that the delay was caused by panic.

Before calling 911, Harrison texted and/or called her daughter, a friend and the parents of three other children. Harrison admitted in court earlier this month that she deleted those calls from her cellphone log because she knew law enforcement and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services would investigate.

The injury to a child charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The tampering with evidence charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Investigators have said they do not think Harrison put the glove in the boy’s mouth. The death was accidental, an autopsy report said.

Before the day Brody died, several parents said, Harrison seemed to run a very nice day care. It was clean, they said. There were many toys. Harrison seemed to have a good way with children.

“She was warm, and when we went to meet her, her house was really nice, and she just seemed like someone who really cared for kids,” said Mary Lopez, whose son attended the day care in 2016.

But District Attorney Shawn Dick suggested that Harrison misled parents into believing she had another full-time caretaker at the operation when she did not. Harrison had a part-time employee who worked several hours during the day — in the morning, when parents dropped off kids, and the afternoon, when parents picked them up.

When Harrison discovered Brody was not breathing in January 2016, she called that part-time employee, Brenda Michael.

“I said, ‘Hang up and call 911. I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Michael testified.

Instead, according to phone records and witness testimony, Harrison called several other parents to tell them to come pick up their children.

On Monday, Brody’s father told his story about what happened that day.

Havins was at work when he saw he had two missed phone calls from Harrison telling him that the baby had had an accident and that she was on the way to the hospital. He then got a call from his wife, Kelly, who told him that Brody had stopped breathing and was going to the hospital.

Havins said he dropped his tools, ran to his car and raced to Baylor Scott & White Health, where the infant was being treated. Once Havins arrived, he said, a family member told him that Brody had died.

Havins said he threw his keys and started screaming and crying. He then found his wife.

“I guarantee we cried for a good hour sitting on the floor,” Havins said.

Since then, he and his wife have struggled to deal with what happened, he said.

“I’m a different person,” Havins said. “She’s a different person. We’re still trying to cope with this the best way we know how.”

The sentencing hearing will continue Tuesday.



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