An unlicensed Hemet daycare operator must stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from the suffocation death of a 7-month-old girl in her care, a judge ruled Monday.
Denise Renee Worman, 54, was arrested and charged in September 2017 following a nearly six-month-long investigation into the death of Addison Watkins.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Prevost found sufficient evidence was presented at the defendant’s preliminary hearing to warrant a trial on the felony count and scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Jan. 8 at the Banning Justice Center.
According to Hemet police and fire officials, Addison and her then-3- year-old brother were left in Worman’s care on the morning of March 27, 2017, as they had been on multiple previous occasions.
Worman operated an unregistered daycare out of her residence in the 1200 block of Stepstone Court, near Silkstone Drive, according to the California Department of Social Services, which initiated its own investigation.
Police allege the defendant placed Addison and her sibling in a bean bag chair while she tended to other business in the house, and in the time she was not watching the children, Addison rolled face-down in the bag, at which point her brother sat on her.
When Worman returned, Addison was not breathing, according to police. Lt. Eddie Pust said paramedics arrived within a few minutes and attempted to resuscitate the tot, who was taken to Hemet Valley Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
The ensuing investigation revealed that the baby’s brother, prior to her birth, had been under Worman’s care numerous times over a two-year period, without any known complications, according to Pust.
Worman, who is free on a $25,000 bond, has no documented prior misdemeanor or felony convictions.