Unlicensed day care provider pleads not guilty

Baby Addison Watkins asphyxiated from smothering, says coroner

Photo source: Facebook
Addison Watkins, 7 months, suffocated to death in a bean bag chair at an unlicensed day care facility in Hemet on March 27.

■ Mary Ann Morris / Editor

Just six months after the suffocation death of 7-month-old Addison Watkins, charges of involuntary manslaughter have been levied against Denise Worman, 53, the unlicensed day care provider who was caring for baby Addison and her three-year-old brother. Worman pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday in Riverside County Superior Court, according to court records.
Worman was running the unlicensed daycare from her home on Stepstone Court in Hemet. She was charged Sept. 12 and according to reports, is not in custody. Worman had provided daycare services to the Watkins family for at least two years prior to the incident.
The Hemet Fire Department reported that Addison and her brother were asleep and had been placed on their backs on a beanbag chair. About 20 minutes later, Worman returned and found Addison face down with her brother on top of her.
According to the report, CPR was provided prior to paramedics arriving. According to the coroner, Addison’s cause of death was attributed to asphyxiation due to smothering.
After a visit by State Social Services investigators to the daycare facility, Worman immediately agreed to stop providing unlicensed child care.
The Watkins have since moved to Ohio because Kristin Watkins, Addision’s mother, could not escape the pain she felt in Hemet, according to posts on her Facebook and GoFundMe accounts. To help combat her grief, she has also created a group for parents and family members who have lost a child in a child care environment called Children Lost in Child Care.
“I have found a way to move out of California…the town reminded me of all the pain and the hardest part was having to drive past the hospital that I had to kiss my dead baby goodbye in,” said Watkins.
While her husband is still looking for work, Kristin has found a job working in a preschool.
The GoFundMe account has raised more than $20,000 to pay for funeral expenses, counseling, and living expenses. The Watkins’ hope additional donations will allow them to fly back and forth from Ohio during the trial.
The next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3 at the Banning Justice Center.

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