mug shot

Dana McNair

A Widefield woman was arrested Monday in connection with the February death of an infant who asphyxiated at her unlicensed in-home day care, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

An autopsy provided by the El Paso County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 3-month-old Delavan Johnson; the sheriff's office would not provide the child's name.

Delavan asphyxiated after being placed on his left side in an adult bed "with two sheets, a blanket and a comforter under him" at a day care provider. Nearly an hour later, he was found face down, unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at a hospital that evening. Pneumonia contributed to his death, according to the autopsy report, which declares his death accidental.

Dana McNair, 53, was taken into custody Monday on one count of felony child abuse resulting in death, as well as 16 counts of misdemeanor child abuse, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

Officers were dispatched to a home at the 500 block of Widefield Drive, east of Fort Carson, on Feb. 5 in response to a call regarding an unresponsive infant, the news release from the sheriff's office stated. 

McNair was running an in-home day care for numerous children ranging in ages from 18 months to 7 years old and was not licensed to run a child care facility, according to the Sheriff's Office. 

Child care providers caring for five or more children must be licensed, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Office of Early Childhood said.

McNair’s arrest came four days after the Colorado Attorney General’s Office obtained a judge’s order barring the defendant from ever reopening her day care.  

The office took action against McNair in April, court records show. El Paso County District Judge Thomas Kelly Kane approved a settlement agreement Thursday in which McNair agreed to a permanent injunction.

El Paso County court records show a woman with the same name as McNair who has faced financial problems over the past two decades, with multiple civil suits involving debt.

In 2019 authorities found 26 children hidden behind a false wall in the basement at an unlicensed day care facility in Colorado Springs. Carla Marie Faith, then 58, was arrested on misdemeanor child abuse alleging recklessness, but without injury, and attempt to influence a public servant, according to court records.

Last month the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced that Faith’s trial, slated for May, will take place in September because the prosecution has elected to try Faith and two co-defendants together. 

Gazette reporter O'Dell Isaac contributed to this report.

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