FORT MILL — The Fort Mill woman who was caring for 18-month-old Chase McCowie when he died last month has been charged with a violation of child day care law.
Police say Christina T. Capobianco, 35, of 6005 Laurent Ave., was running a day care facility without a license. She turned herself into police on Tuesday, according to Lt. Mike Baker of York County Sheriff’s Office. The charges are not connected to the baby’s death.
“Nothing in this charge has anything to do with the death investigation,” Baker said. “We found no wrong doing that was a direct cause to the death. That part of the investigation has been closed. Barring any further information, we suspect no foul play.”
Capobianco would not comment. Chase McCowie’s parents, Robert and Angela McCowie, could not be reached for comment.
With conviction, the misdemeanor charge carries a fine not to exceed $1,500 or imprisonment not to exceed six months or a combination of both, Baker said.
The arrest warrant, dated April 22, notes the defendant was in “operation of a family child care home without a license. The defendant did maintain a facility within a residence that she occupied that regularly provided child care for children for more than four hours a day unattended by a parent or related to the operator.”
On March 23, the day Chase died, six children were in Capobianco’s home, Baker said. “Three of the children were hers,” Baker said.
Officials believe Capobianco ran the child care business for at least two years, Baker said.
“Part of the law specifies how many children can be cared for in an unlicensed daycare,” Baker said. “She was basically caring for more children than what is allowed by law.”
The arrest warrant notes that Capobianco charged parents for babysitting services.
“She did not advertise as a day care,” Baker wrote in an e-mail to the Fort Mill Times. “It is our understanding that people came to her by referral only.”
This week police provided new details on what led to the toddler’s accidental death.
“The child had been asleep in the car and had been brought in the house asleep still in the car seat so as to not wake him,” Baker said.
“It’s our assumption that he woke up and tried to get out of the car seat and suffocated,” Baker added. “We believe he got tangled up in the car seat.”
Police say Chase was left unattended in the car seat for less than 30 minutes.
“She went back in to check on the child and discovered (that) he wasn’t breathing and called 911,” Baker said.
That call came in around 3:14 p.m. March 23. Officials arrived four minutes later, according to a police report.
When the officer arrived at the home, a small child noted that “there was a child down on the floor,” the report notes. Inside the house, an off-duty EMT performed CPR on that child in the master bedroom, according to the report.
Chase was transported to Charlotte’s Carolinas Medical Center. His cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation by car seat, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast.
Capobianco was booked Tuesday at the Moss Justice Center and released hours later on a $5,000 bond, a York County Detention Center official said. Capobianco’s first general sessions court date is slated for June 22.