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Toddler suffocated in car seat; 2 at day care center charged

March 27, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian

A Burbank daycare owner and her employee pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that an 11-month-old boy in their care died last year after allegedly suffocating from a car seat chest strap, officials said.

Milena Nikodijevic, 51, owner of Twinkle Little Stars in Burbank, and her employee, Wendy Oropeza, 21, were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse after the 11-month-old – identified by prosecutors only as Adam D. – died last year under their care, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

In February of last year, Burbank police responded to the 200 block of West Santa Anita Avenue, where the infant was reportedly not breathing. The baby was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Prosecutors alleged that Oropeza improperly secured Adam D. in another child’s car seat, where he fell asleep and suffocated from the strap.

In addition, Nikodijevic allegedly had three times the number of children under the age of 2 in her care than her license allowed and had been cited twice before for having violating capacity rules, prosecutors said.

Nikodijevic and Oropeza are due back in court in May. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in state prison.

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metrodesk@latimes.com

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