New charges filed in deadly day care fire

March 5, 2011 4:26:11 PM PST
Prosecutors have leveled more charges against the woman accused of leaving children alone last week when a fire broke out at the day care that killed four. Over the last day or so someone has come out and placed a blue tarp over the writing that advertises Jessica Tata's day care on a van. There used to be a sign on the side door that has been removed as well.

More than a week after children died in a fire at the west Houston home, Tata is now facing additional charges of manslaughter and the new charges could help authorities get the fugitive day care owner back to the US.

She one of America's most wanted and also among the US Marshals 15 most wanted fugitives -- the woman fire investigators say left seven children alone at the time of a fire at her west Houston home day care. Four children died in the fire and three others were injured.

Tata is on the run. Authorities believe she fled to Nigeria, and now US authorities are upping the ante to get her back.

US Marshals have announced Tata is now facing four counts of manslaughter, in addition to 10 other charges, including reckless injury of a child and child abandonment.

But it's the manslaughter charge that could get the day care owner back to the US quicker, if Tata is found and detained. The US/Nigeria extradition treaty is specific on which crimes are extraditable. According to a local attorney who specializes in international extradition law, child abandonment and reckless injury to a child are not covered under the treaty, but manslaughter is.

The US Marshals service has now increased the reward to $25,000 for any information leading to Jessica Tata's arrest. If you have any information in the case, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

Interpol, the international police agency, has alerted its member countries, including Nigeria, telling them that Tata is being sought by the United States.

CHILDREN LAID TO REST

One of the children who died in that daycare fire was buried Saturday. A funeral was held for 19-month-old Elizabeth Kajoh. Family members say she always had a smile on her face and gave hugs to everyone.

Funerals were held Friday for two other fire victims. Mourners said goodbye to 20-month-old Kendyll Stradford during a service in west Houston and services were also held for Elias Castillo. Three-year-old Shomari Dickerson was laid to rest Thursday.


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