Funeral for Day Care Fire Victim

The first of four children who died in a day care fire last week was laid to rest today. Meanwhile, the manhunt intensifies for the operator of the west Houston day care, who fled the country before charges were filed. Pat Hernandez has more.

Tracy Storms
Tracy Storms, grandmother of Shomari Dickerson

Family and friends of 3-year old Shomari Dickerson gathered at a northside funeral home to say goodbye to the toddler who died when the day care he stayed at caught fire last week. The blaze killed three other children.

Before the service began, Tracy Storms, Shomari's grandmother, had some harsh words for the operator of the day care, who left the children unattended while she went to the store:

"I would like for her to rot in prison. I would like for her never to see the light of day again, like my grandson will never see the light of day."

22 year old Jessica Tata, fled the country on Saturday, a day before being charged in connection with the fatal fire.

Storms was asked if she thought the Houston Fire Department made mistakes in not taking Tata into custody:

Jessica Tata DMV photo
Jessica Tata DMV photo

"Of course they made mistakes. Everyone in that department and in the police department made mistakes. They should have held her. There was more than enough information for them to hold that lady to all the charges could be pressed. There was no reason in the world that they shouldn't have held her, or taken her passport away to make sure that she was here in the United States that could stand trial for all of these crimes."

Authorities believe Tata, wanted on seven charges of reckless injury to a child and three charges of endangering a child, fled to Nigeria where she has family ties. Investigators say she was shopping when the fire began in the kitchen. In all, seven children were trapped.

Two are in stable condition at Galveston's Shriners Hospital and one was treated and released at a nearby hospital.


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Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...