FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The father of a four-month-old baby girl has filed court documents against the daycare accused in her death, demanding a civil jury trial.
Tyson Harris filed the documents on September 15, bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Red Bay daycare and four of the five women charged in the death of his daughter, Autumn Wells.
Negligence, wantonness and negligent/wanton hiring, training or supervising are all listed as a basis for the civil trial, saying the owner of the daycare, Angelene Chamblee, owed it to Harris and the children at the Tiny Tigers Daycare to provide proper care and supervision.
Four-month-old Autumn Wells was laid facedown on a “Boppy” pillow, court records say, after daycare workers said she started getting fussy. She fell asleep in that position and was left there for an “extended period of time.”
The lawsuit claims there was a “lack of supervision by the staff and an inappropriate sleeping environment.” When workers eventually checked on Wells, the lawsuit says she was pale and wasn’t breathing.
Franklin County Coroner Charles Adcox confirmed that the infant was taken from the daycare to a local hospital in a private vehicle on March 9, 2022. Hospital officials pronounced her dead shortly after arrival.
Hannah Grace Letson, Payton Nicole Gann, Teia Kay Gann and Angelene Chamblee all entered a plea of not guilty, according to court records. Madison Jade McCalpin was also scheduled for an arraignment on Wednesday, but court documents do not show whether or not she has entered her plea.
According to the lawsuit, the women “outrageously and intentionally” lied to law enforcement to cover up the truth about how the infant died.
Payton Gann and Madison McCalpin were both charged with manslaughter and false reporting to law enforcement.
Teia Gann and Hannah Letson were both charged with tampering with a witness, while Letson was also charged with tampering with physical evidence.
Angelene Chamblee, the owner of the daycare, was charged with six counts of child care act violation and two counts of forgery.
All of the women were arrested in June after grand jury indictments were returned in May. They each made bail and were released from jail later that same day. Payton Gann was released on a $30,000 bond, while McCalpin was released on a $25,000 bond.
Teia Gann was released on a $1,000 bond, Letson on a $2,000 bond and Chamblee was released on a $10,000 bond.
Following Wells’ death, the Alabama Department of Human Resources conducted an investigation along with the Red Bay Police Department. Tiny Tigers Daycare was forced to shut down.
Jury trials against Gann, Letson, Chamblee and Gann for their criminal charges are scheduled for October 17.