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Mom Gets Probation; Child Died in Care of Sitter

December 29, 1987

A woman whose infant son died of head injuries suffered while in the care of a 10-year-old relative who has mental problems, was placed on three years' probation Monday after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.

Municipal Judge Jesus Rodriguez suspended a six-month jail term for Brenda McAllister, 24, of San Diego, but ordered her to perform 100 hours community service and attend parenting classes and counseling sessions as directed by her probation officer.

On July 22, police arrived at McAllister's apartment and found the baby sitter in hysterics and the infant, Ricardo Vaughn McAllister, on the floor, bleeding from the nose and mouth. The hospitalized baby died in September, and charges were filed against McAllister several weeks later.

Authorities contended that McAllister, a working mother whose Marine Corps husband was stationed in Japan, should have known that her niece's mental condition made her unfit to care for the infant by herself for two days.

"I wasn't all that interested in (McAllister's) serving jail time, but I wanted her to see how wrong what she did was," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Cathy Stephenson.

"I know a lot of people leave their babies for even up to half an hour while they run to the store or something . . . but to leave an infant locked in an apartment all day with a child like that and no phone is wrong."

The baby sitter, who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic suffering from a dual personality, was placed in a mental health facility after the incident.

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