PHOENIX – A Phoenix couple has pleaded not guilty in the death of a toddler at their home daycare.
28 year old Allison Clement and 27 year old Ryan Reed were arraigned today on charges of felony child abuse.
The pair was arrested after two year old Savannah Cross died at their residential daycare business.
On Dec. 11, officers and paramedics responded to a 911 call at the home where the girl was staying, near 48th St. and Roeser Rd.
When emergency crews arrived, Savannah was reportedly not breathing, and medics took over CPR from one of the caregivers. The child was transported to Maricopa Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The cause of Savannah’s death is still under investigation.
"There is some obvious trauma to this small child," said Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Dept. Crump tells us Ryan Reed "admitted to abusing the victim on numerous occasions by striking, kicking, and roughly grabbing the victim."
Police also say Reed admitted that he attempted to walk over Savannah, but wound up accidentally stomping on her.
The child was reportedly grabbing her stomach in pain, but Reed said he left Savannah in her playpen that night even though she was making groaning sounds.
Crump said Allison Clement told investigators that she witnessed the abuse, but did nothing to help Savannah.
Police believe Savannah had been dropped off at the daycare months ago, and that her mother rarely came to visit.
There were five children, including the victim, in the home when the incident occurred. The children range in age from about 2 to 8. Police said the 8-year-old and 5-year-old are brother and sister and are the caregivers' biological children.
"Some people dropped off kids and just left them there," said one neighbor who declined to be identified.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Child Care Licensing, the home in question is not licensed. However, Arizona law allows a home care program to have four children and be legal. The providers’ own children do not count in that number.
A spokeswoman said records show no indication of past complaints against the address.
Clement and Reed are due back in court Feb. 12.