A New Jersey daycare operation reportedly has been shuttered for violations days after a mother says she picked up her 6-month-old daughter covered in bruises and scratches.
According to CBS New York, officials in Newark shut down the unlicensed J&A Nursery last week after allegedly documenting seven code violations at the daycare operation that was being run from a private home.
PEOPLE reached out to city officials but was not immediately able to verify the report.
Municipal court records show the facility’s operator, Lisa Muhammad, received citations Tuesday for nuisances, failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy, failure to obtain a license and failure to provide adequate doors for exit, reports NJ.com.
Muhammad was due to be arraigned in municipal court last Thursday but the matter was adjourned to Dec. 19 after she requested a lawyer, reports CBS New York.
A lawyer who might speak on Muhammad’s behalf was not identified.
The 6-month-old girl’s mother, Anari Ormond, 23, previously told PEOPLE that she received a text last Tuesday from the daycare operator asking Ormond to give the center a call on her lunch break.
When she instead responded immediately, Ormond says she was told that her daughter, Zuri Camara, had been left “unattended around a 2-year-old boy” who had “bit Zuri 3 times in the stomach.”
After hanging up the phone, Ormond, a preschool teacher, says she rushed to the daycare, which was a 17-minute drive away, and “when I arrived I was stopped at the door and basically braced for whatever I was getting ready to see,” she says.
“[The owner] began a story saying she went upstairs to get Neosporin and fell down the steps while holding my daughter and she was severely bruised,” says Ormond. She says she rushed past the daycare owner to find her child’s entire face “red, bruised, swollen and scratched,” with additional scratches on her right foot and hand.
“I was shocked and heartbroken,” Ormond told PEOPLE. “She was just sitting there. She wasn’t laughing or smiling,” Osmond says of her baby.
The operator of the daycare did not respond to numerous requests from PEOPLE for comment.
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Ormond left the center and took Zuri to a hospital, where a doctor diagnosed a “mild concussion” and sent the child home with antibiotics, she says. “They did an X-ray of her leg, but couldn’t see any fractures but that may have been because her bones are so tiny,” Ormond says the doctor told her.
After leaving the hospital, Ormond went to police. She took photos of Zuri’s injuries, which show marks on her face, legs and what appears to be bite marks on her stomach.
Ormond says the case is being investigated by a local prosecutor and Child Protective Services. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families subsequently released a statement obtained by ABC7NY.
“Our records do not show an operating license or registration for J&A Nursery in Newark,” it reads. “Please note that Family Child Care Homes are permitted to operate in New Jersey, without a license, if they are caring for five or fewer unrelated children. However, if programs wish to receive federal subsidies they’re required to voluntarily register with DCF and comply with applicable regulations. Providing care for more than five unrelated children requires a childcare center license, and operating without such a license may subject the operator to prosecution.”
It was not immediately clear how many children were under the care of J&A Nursery, where Ormond said she had placed her daughter since last month.
On social media, Ormond wrote: “I literally can’t sleep or eat and probably won’t until my daughter receives justice.”
She told PEOPLE: “I felt so weak knowing that my baby is so helpless and couldn’t defend herself nor tell me what even happened. I’ve been feeling so defeated.”
“I thought I was doing the best thing for her.”
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to http://www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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