Baby's death unresolved

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM

A 5-month-old boy died Sept. 10, 2013, after being discovered unresponsive in a crib at the day care run by Janet Boyer at her home on West Fuller Street in Fruitport Township.

The child had been left alone for about an hour, according to the state investigation. That probe also revealed that a day care provider gave a painkiller to the “fussy” baby prior to putting him down for a nap from which he never woke.

The facility was shut down by the state and Boyer’s license was suspended due to violations discovered during a Michigan Department of Human Services’ investigation following the child’s death. The state issued a notice of its intent to permanently revoke the day care’s license.

“Due to the serious nature of the above violations and the potential risk it represents to vulnerable children in licensee’s care, emergency action is required,” the notice stated.

Boyer eventually decided not to fight the suspension, according to a state spokesperson.

Fruitport Township police were charged with separately investigating the child’s death. Detective Lt. Bruce Morningstar said shortly after the state’s action that foul play was not suspected. He said there were no signs of abuse and the cause of death was listed as “sudden unexplained infant death” in an autopsy report by the Sparrow Hospital Forensic Pathology unit.

Fruitport Township police officials in early December said they were waiting on results from the State Crime Lab to complete the incident report.

Lt. Jim Pierson, director of the Michigan State Police Crime Lab, said at the time that it could take up to three months to complete the biology report. It could take longer if they had questions that had to be resolved.

In early January, Morningstar noted in a news release that the report was complete and it would be turned over to the prosecuting attorney’s office the following week.

That did not happen.

Muskegon County Prosecuting Attorney Raymond Kostrzewa confirmed last week that his office had yet to receive the paperwork to review.

Morningstar did not return ensuing phone calls and e-mail requests asking for an update on the investigation and clarification on why the report had not been sent to the prosecutor’s office.

Visits by a reporter to his office last week were followed by a call from Fruitport Township Police Chief Ken Doctor, who said his detective had other priorities than to talk to media, and that his office had no comment on the day care case. He declined to answer any further questions.

Boyer, speaking from her home on Thursday, said nothing new was happening in the case and she had no further comment.


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