Caregiver charged in child's death got license in October 2016 | KOB 4

Caregiver charged in child's death got license in October 2016

Caleb James
January 03, 2018 05:13 PM

BELEN, N.M. -- Developments continue to emerge in the story of an 11-month-old baby police say was killed in foster care.


Stephanie Crownover, 55, has been charged with child abuse resulting in death. Now big questions about child safety are reaching the top of New Mexico's Children Youth and Families Department.

KOB has learned Crownover was relatively new to the foster system, licensed by the state in October 2016. CYFD says Crownover provided what is called respite care for another foster mother who needed to leave town.

The 11-month-old and her siblings were staying at Crownover's Belen home. Deputies say the baby had ligature marks around her neck when medics arrived here.

Detectives described horrific conditions in that house, including animal feces and structural problems. Neighbors in the area told KOB off camera they frequently saw kids in and out of the home and in the backyard.

CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobsen said the department was at the home to place another child at the beginning of last month and nothing raised any red flags. There are now a lot of questions about whether something was missed.

"If we were in this house and this is not what we saw, what caused it to change?" Jacobson told KOB in a Tuesday interview. "When did it change? How did it change? What would it have taken for us to know there was a change?"

There are 93 licensed foster care providers in Valencia County.

One of Crownover's friends came to the house Wednesday afternoon. She said the children were brought to Crownover's home by their full-time foster mother already ill. That is a claim documented in this criminal complaint as well.

The woman said she believes the blame for the children's health is being misplaced. These are elements and aspects of a case still under investigation.


Caleb James

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