Virginia daycare worker charged with murdering 2-year-old girl

Kaylee Thomas was found in the unlicensed-daycare home of Jessica Cherry, who was finally charged for her murder.

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A daycare operator in Virginia has been charged with murder in the August death of a two-year-old Virginia girl. 

Jessica Cherry, 37, was babysitting Kaylee Thomas last August in the woman’s Norfolk home, which was reportedly an unlicensed daycare center, when the child was found unresponsive, then declared dead. Cherry was arrested shortly afterward and charged with felony attempted malicious wounding, two counts of felony abuse and neglect of a child and two counts of felony child endangerment.

Two-year-old Kaylee Thomas (above) was found unresponsive at the unlicensed-daycare home of Jessica Cherry, who was charged for second-degree murder this week in connection to the toddler’s September death. (Facebook)

However, the Norfolk County Coroner has now classified Thomas’ death as a homicide, and Cherry was charged accordingly this week and faces a count of second-degree murder. 

She reportedly had a camera in the home, and while police say it was pointed toward a television set, images reflecting off its screen appear to show Cherry abusing multiple children. 

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Norfolk County prosecutors contend that the video shows Cherry covering a boy’s mouth and nose with a cloth, then leaving him alone in a room. Another scene reportedly shows the woman slapping a child. 

A 1-year-old boy had previously been found dead in Cherry’s home in January 2020. That death has remained undetermined, but it is still under investigation. 

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Cherry has been held without bond since her arrest in September. Prosecutors have called her a danger to the community. 

Thomas’ grieving family is under a gag order to refrain from talking about her murder investigation. However, they did share with a local news outlet that the affectionate toddler’s nickname was Boo. She could count up to 15 and say her ABCs. 

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An online obituary notes she is survived by her parents, Errelle and Ch-Nel Thomas, three brothers, plus her maternal and paternal grandparents. 

“We love and miss you more than you will ever know Boo!” her family wrote. “Kaylee was free and she had a smile that melted anyone’s heart. Although her life was short-lived, she will forever be in our hearts.” 

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