The Edmond Sun

March 25, 2013

Attorney defends client linked to day care incident

Police: 3-year-old suffered fractured leg in scuffle

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — An attorney for a woman accused of injuring a child at an Edmond day care facility said his client’s comments don’t match the allegation.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed a felony child abuse charge March 18 against Toni Murphy, 25, of Oklahoma City, in Oklahoma County District Court. Prosecutors allege the defendant used “an unreasonable amount of force” in restraining a 3-year-old child, according to court records.

In an affidavit, Edmond Police Detective Chris Cook stated that probable cause exists for the filing of criminal charges against the defendant based on the following circumstances.

On Jan. 9, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services reported to the Edmond Police Department that a 3-year-old child had suffered a possible broken leg at a day care facility.

Officers contacted the parents and confirmed their child had suffered a broken femur while at the First Church of the Nazarene, 3001 S. Boulevard, Cook stated in the affidavit. It was reported that the defendant was an employee at the facility and was the only adult in the room at the time of the injury, the affidavit stated.

Cook stated that he interviewed the defendant two times and she agreed that the injury occurred while the victim was in her care.

On Jan. 17, he interviewed the defendant and asked her if the victim’s injuries might have happened while she was holding him down and possibly applying too much pressure to his legs, Cook stated. She stated, “That’s the only thing I can think of so I’m guessing yeah,” according to the affidavit.

They talked about how the victim was struggling with her and the detective asked her if the force she was using along with the force he was throwing himself backwards could have caused his leg injury; she stated “Yeah. Yeah,” according to the affidavit.

Gary Cantrell, the defendant’s attorney, said he has spoken with his client about the incident and the words she used to describe what happened were earnest. Cantrell said it does not sound like her actions fit the allegation.

Cantrell declined further comment pending the preliminary hearing conference, when he will get to speak to prosecutors.

First Church of the Nazarene Pastor Mark Hollingsworth deferred comment to the church’s attorney, Rodney Stewart.

Stewart said the church did the responsible thing in immediately terminating the employee who has not returned to the facility. No other issues were reported during her roughly five years of employment, Stewart said. Child safety is a top concern for day care managers, who have been in contact with the child’s parents, he said.

“It is a good day care run by good, caring people,” he said.

The day care remains open, Stewart said. He declined further comment.

Bond was set at $10,000, and the defendant was booked and released from the county jail on March 21, according to jail records. The defendant has not yet entered a plea in court. | 341-2121, ext. 108