Edison woman, coworkers get probation in infant death

EDISON — A township woman and two other former employees of a Highland Park day care center received probationary terms after they were charged with endangering the welfare of a 9-week old boy who died at the facility, according to authorities.

Blanca Jimenez, 61, of Edison, was placed on a two-year probationary term known as pre-trial intervention (PTI) for her alleged role in the infant’s death.

Her coworker, Lorie McDermott, 49, of Milltown, received the same PTI term.

Tanya Choy, 36, of Martinsville, received a three-year PTI term after pleading guilty to a count of endangering the welfare of the child, admitting that she placed the infant face-down in a crib at the Above and Beyond Child Care Center on South Third Avenue in Highland Park and failed to check on the infant, who died Sept. 10, 2014, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

The charges will be dismissed for each of the defendants upon successful completion of the program.

The three were admitted to the PTI program after reaching agreements with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Miralles Walsh. The agreements were approved in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus.

Each of the three is required to pay the infant’s family $1,704.01 in restitution to cover some family expenses.

The charges against the three women came as a result of an investigation by Detective Don Newton of the Highland Park Police Department and Detective Sgt. Frank DiNinno of the prosecutor’s office.

The investigation began when Highland Park police were dispatched to the day care center and arrived to find the infant unresponsive.

Police rushed the infant to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced dead.

Sudden infant death syndrome was determined to be the cause. A contributing factor was that the infant was placed on his stomach and left unattended for two hours.