Parents of boy who hanged self sue Alpharetta daycare owner

The parents of a Roswell boy who died after wrapping twine around his neck at daycare have filed a civil lawsuit in Fulton County State Court against the owner of the in-home center.

Jeffrey and Heidi Stephens seek unspecified damages and request a jury trial on behalf of their 3-year-old son, Thomas Maxwell Stephens, according to the lawsuit obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

On July 8, Max was outside Ms. Janna’s Daycare in Alpharetta when he wrapped twine around himself, cutting off oxygen to his brain, according to police and state investigators.

The center’s owner, Janna Thompson, told police she left Max and another child outside alone, and when she returned, Max had twine around his neck and was not breathing. Thompson called 911 and began CPR on the boy, who died the following day at the hospital.

The lawsuit states the child suffered a brain injury caused by lack of oxygen and died as a result.

Thompson has declined to return a call seeking comment on the incident. But released a statement through email. It was not known Friday whether she has retained an attorney.

“I have cared for Max in my home for three years and he was loved as one of my own,” Thompson said. “My grief pales in comparison to that of his parents.”

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning ordered the center to be closed following the boy’s death. On July 30, the agency revoked Thompson’s daycare license after further investigation.

The morning of the incident, Thompson allegedly had seven children in her care, though she was allowed by state law to care for only six, according to DECAL. She also allegedly left two infants and a toddler inside her home while she took three toddlers and a preschool-age child outside, the court order from DECAL states.

Alpharetta police are investigating the boy’s death. No criminal charges have been filed.

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