Burbank daycare owner, employee charged in infant's death

A Burbank daycare owner and employee were arrested Tuesday after an 11-month-old boy in their care died last year from 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 arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse after the 11-month-old – identified by prosecutors as Adam D. – died last year under their care, Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said in a statement.

In February 2012, 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.

“All efforts to revive the infant by emergency medical staff were unsuccessful,” Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said in a statement.

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

In addition, Nicodijevic allegedly had three times the number of children under the age of 2 in her care than her license allowed.

Nicodijevic had been cited twice before for having violating capacity, Robison added.

Nikodijevic and Oropeza are each being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and are due in court this week. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in state prison.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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