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Tuesday
Mar012011

Prosecutor Urges Day Care Worker to Return to U.S. and Face Charges

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- A Houston prosecutor denied Tuesday that it botched the investigation into a day care fire that killed four toddlers, but conceded the woman charged in the fire had left the country and urged her return to the U.S. and face charges.

"If you cared at all about those children, then return," Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos said in an appeal to Jessica Tata.

Tata, who ran Jackie's Child Care in Houston, was charged Monday with one count of reckless bodily injury to a child and bond was set at $500,000. But prosecutors realized that Tata, who is 22, had already fled to Nigeria.

Lykos said at a news conference Tuesday that nine additional charges will be filed against Tata, including six more charges of reckless bodily injury to a child and three charges of child endangerment.

The DA also issued an alert that Tata's brother, Ron Tata, was attempting to create a business called "Houston Benefit of Daycare Victims" to solicit money.

"I would urge the Tata family instead of... raising money and who knows where that money is going to and how it's going to be accounted for, that they have Miss Tata return to Harris County and face justice," Lykos said.

The prosecutor called Ron Tata's fundraising plans "reprehensible."

Lykos news conference was held amid criticism that investigators had not acted more quickly after last Thursday's fire and allowed Tata to leave the country.

Tiffany Dickerson is furious that prosecutors never questioned or arrested Tata who ran the day care where seven children were left alone and four -- including Dickerson's young son -- died in a fire that started on the woman's stove.

Lykos defended her team's investigation into the case. It took four days to charge Tata and prosecutors never questioned the Texas-born woman.

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