Family blames St. Augustine day care for infant's head injuries

Five-month-old girl admitted to hospital with apparent head injuries. Baby's family says she was injured at day care center in St. Augustine.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Augustine family is blaming their 5-month-old girl's day care for traumatic head injuries that required two days of hospitalization.

Bernadette Tobler, mother of Kamoira Jones, talked with First Coast News Thursday morning at Wolfson Children's Hospital. She said she'd been at her baby daughter's bedside around the clock since they arrived Tuesday night, after discovering injuries to the girl's head when she picked the infant up at Byrd Family Daycare about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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"When I got [to the day care], there was no kids there. The house was dark," Tobler said, "like [the owner] made sure everything was like - I don't know - like she was hiding something."

"And when [my daughter] got closer, we see her face all puffed up, scratched up, her eye was closed shut, the big bruise in the middle of her forehead."

White, Tyler

First, Tobler said, she brought Kamoira to Flagler Hospital, where she said doctors expressed concern that the baby had been shaken.

"[Kamoira's face] was scratched on her eye and stuff, and when she cried, blood came."

Although she said the worry about Kamoira having been shaken was ruled out, the infant was transported by ambulance to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville Tuesday night.

"The next day they said 'No, it's not normal, it's bleeding on her brain," Tobler said.

Personnel at Byrd Family Daycare declined to be interviewed, only saying

First Coast News also attempted to interview Byrd Family Daycare personnel but was asked to leave the property. A woman there did say "Yes, we're very sorry that it happened, we already talked to the family," but offered no further comment or detail.

Tobler expressed bewilderment, claiming that the day care had called her on one occasion in recent weeks when there were questions about her daughter's pacifier, but that no one called her Tuesday about her child being injured.

"[The daycare] called me about a pacifier, but [staff] didn't call me about my baby being beaten like this?," Tobler said.

White, Tyler

Tobler told First Coast News by phone Thursday evening that Kamoira had been released from the hospital about 5:30 p.m. and is expected to heal from her injuries.

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The Department of Children and Families told First Coast News that Byrd Family Daycare has been licensed since October 2016 and has had no previous complaints or violations. Both DCF and the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office say the investigation is continuing.

"If we reach a point in time where we have what we call probable cause in the legal field, then we'll move forward with a charge if one is applicable in this case," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan.