$75K bond set for ex-daycare owner accused in toddler’s death

Bond was set at $75,000 for the former daycare owner accused of leaving a 3-year-old boy alone outside long enough to hang himself, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

Janna Vernon Thompson, of Alpharetta, surrendered Thursday night and was booked in to the Fulton County jail. She has been charged with two counts of murder in the second degree and cruelty to children in the second degree.

Thompson, indicted last week by a Grand Jury, is accused of being negligent in caring for Max Stephens on July 8, leading to the boy’s death, according to investigators. Thompson, the previous owner and sole operator of Miss Janna’s Daycare, told police she left Max and two other children outside while she disciplined other children inside and made a phone call.

When Thompson returned outside, she found Max unresponsive on the slide with a piece of twine around his neck, according to police. Thompson administered CPR and called 911, but Max died the following day from asphyxia due to hanging.

“I do not know where he got the string, it was around his neck,” Thompson told investigators, according to an Alpharetta police report.

Thompson was charged with second-degree murder, a law that went into effect July 1 in Georgia. She is believed to be one of the first to be charged under the new law. Her bond was set at $75,000, and she remained in custody early Friday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for the Fulton jail.

The Roswell boy's death at the in-home daycare came less than six months after the home's playground was deemed unsafe during an inspection, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning records showed.

The daycare, which was licensed to provide care for up to six children, was ordered to close after the boy’s death. At the time Max was found on the slide, Thompson had seven children in her care, according to DECAL.

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