Off the radar
Police records show few interactions since 2008
NASHUA – The home operating as an unlicensed day care center where a 15-month-old baby died last week was not on the radar of Nashua police officers in the more than eight years prior to the infant’s death, according to documents obtained by the Telegraph.
Of the nine pages of police logs dealing with the 131 Ash St. residence, about half the calls deal with the events surrounding the Feb. 22 death of the toddler. The remainder of the logs show routine calls made from or about the house since 2008, the first time the Lavalley family was reportedly investigated for operating an unlicensed day care facility.
Shane and Erica Lavalley have denied any wrongdoing in the child’s death, saying last week they were devastated by the tragedy. Police have said the child did not appear to suffer any trauma, and there is no evidence the infant was involved in an accident.
The Lavalleys, though their
attorney Justin Shepherd, said the child did not wake up from a nap that Wednesday. Autopsy results are pending.
While the police radio logs show the family calling for minor disturbances or being the subject of a complaint from neighbors about their dog, in the eight years prior
to Feb. 22, there is no indication anyone called police about the day care, and there is no indication the state ever intervened about the business.
Police said there were five children not related to the homeowners at the property at the time of the Feb. 22 incident. Representatives with the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services characterized this an an unlicensed day care and sent a letter to the Lavalleys ordering them to stop the business.
DHHS spokesman Jake Leone said in a statement last week the Lavalleys were investigated twice before for operating an unlicensed day care – once in 2008 and again in 2013.
The 2008 investigation resulted in a record of a founded complaint, according to Leon.
The exact nature of the 2008 complaint, and the resulting action taken by DHHS, is unknown, as there are no electronic records before 2009 and the paper records of this case have been purged.
“DHHS policy is to issue a letter requiring ceasing of operations and conduct an unannounced follow-up investigation,” Leon stated. “That is likely what occurred in 2008.”
The 2013 investigation stemmed from an anonymous complaint that went unfounded after DHHS investigators were unable to find anyone at home during three unannounced visits to the house.
According to the police records, officers were asked to deliver the letter from DHHS last week ordering the shutdown of the day care center. There is no such record of police assisting in delivering a letter in 2008.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office is not involved in investigating the death at this time.
Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Telegraph_DF.