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Day care worker arrested after toddler burned

State agency orders Clermont center closed pending appeal

POSTED: June 21, 2014 12:09 a.m.

A day care worker has been arrested and an emergency order issued to close Discovering Basics in Clermont after a toddler was allegedly burned there.

The 16-month-old Damon Gaddis was burned the morning of June 13 while in the care of Eddye Pittmon, 55, of Talmo, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Nicole Bailes, spokeswoman with the sheriff’s office, said Gaddis received injuries that caused “great pain” approximately eight hours before he was picked up by his mother Megan Seabolt.

Pittmon was charged Friday with child cruelty in the first degree and is being held at Hall County Jail with no bond.

The toddler was evaluated at the Augusta burn center June 14 for second- and third-degree burns after being treated June 13 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. 

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning determined the children at the day care center at 5273 Cleveland Ave. in Clermont are in imminent danger, according to a news release from DECAL. 

The day care has 48 hours to appeal the decision before an administrative law judge with the Office of State Administrative Hearings, and it can remain open during that time with a DECAL monitor at the center to ensure the health and safety of the children. 

That means Discovering Basics has until 4 p.m. Tuesday to appeal, which then gives OSAH 48 hours to set a time and date for a hearing. If the center does not appeal, it must close at 4 p.m. Tuesday. If it does appeal, it can remain open until the judge issues an order.

If the judge upholds DECAL’s decision, the day care center must close for 21 days while an investigation continues.

Through pictures, interviews with employees and other evidence, sheriff’s office investigators “were able to determine that Damon Gaddis did receive his injuries at the day care and in the custody of Ms. Eddye Pittmon,” Bailes said.

She said she did not know how long Pittmon had been employed with the day care.

Pittmon will appear before a magistrate judge at 10 a.m. today.

Discovering Basics had no comment.

The investigation is ongoing, and there are “potentially other arrests that may come as a result of those interviews,” Bailes said. 

Parents affected by the situation can get help finding quality child care options by visiting www.allgakids.org or calling 1-877-ALL GA KIDS.


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