Duo behind illegal Ash Street day care charged
Nashua couple caught after infant died in their care
NASHUA – The Ash Street couple allegedly caught running an illegal day care where an infant died last year are now being hit with criminal charges.
Shane Lavalley, 47, and his wife, Erica Lavalley, 45, are due in court Monday to face misdemeanor charges of child endangerment for allegedly operating the daycare out of their 131 Ash St. home.
Justin Sheperd, the Lavalley’s attorney, called the charges a complete waste of resources. He said the couple has struggled since the child died in their care.
“They live with this nightmare,” he said. “They think about it every single day.”
Police were called to the Lavalley’s Ash Street home in February of 2017 for a report that a 15-month-old boy was unconscious and not waking up. The boy was rushed to a hospital where he later died.
The cause and manner of the child’s death has not been made public, but police said at the time it was not suspicious and there were no signs of trauma.
Police reportedly found several other children in the home being cared for by the Lavalley’s. Erica Lavalley at the time advertised the business, which went by the name The Kinder Garden.
Erica Lavalley did not have a license from the state for her daycare business, and she reportedly had a history of complaints about her unlicensed daycare going back to 2009.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human
Services sent a letter to the Lavalley’s following the child’s death, ordering the couple to stop operating a daycare. Jake Leon, a spokesman for DHHS, stated that DHHS investigators would follow up with more unannounced visits and if the Lavalley’s are found in violation of the law state officials will consider taking legal action.
The charges filed in court stem from the Lavalley’s operating the business in February of 2017, and not an any subsequent unlicensed daycare business. Shepherd said the family has since gone into another line of business.
In 2013, DHHS received an anonymous complaint the Lavalley’s were operating an unlicensed daycare facility and investigators made unannounced visits the house on three occasions; each time, they failed to find any adults or children at home. The investigation was then dropped.
In 2008, DHHS records show a founded complaint, meaning there was factual evidence of a violation regarding operating an unlicensed daycare. However, electronic records are not available for any report prior to 2009 and paper records are purged after four years as a matter of policy.
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashua
telegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.