Newborn Drowns in Mop Bucket on First Day of Daycare After She's Left Unattended. No Charges Yet!

We don't even know where to begin with this story. At a time of year when most families are saying how thankful they are for the new additions to their family, one family in Perry, Florida is mourning the loss of theirs.

Little Jersi McKnight was only two-months-old when she died on her very first day attending daycare.

Jersi’s mom, Martasha Robinson, says she dropped her off for her first day at Hugger Family Daycare, a state-licensed facility inside a Perry home, on Aug. 9, 2021.

“We were recommended by tons of people,” Robinson said.

Robinson said goodbye to her daughter just before 8 a.m. Around 3:30 p.m., she got a hysterical call from the mother of another child there.

“My heart stopped,” Robinson said. ”I just assumed she was in good care."

The past four months have brought a tidal wave of emotions for the family, and they’re still angry.

Child abuse, child neglect,” Robinson said.

“It’s neglect all day,” Jonathan McKnight, the father, said.

The story that the family was eventually given by the state was that "Jersi had allegedly been left unattended on a changing table and somehow scooted off, landing in a nearby mop bucket where the 2-month-old girl drowned." That story coupled with a grand jury determined not to indict the daycare owner on criminal charges in a 10-8 decision, has left the entire family reeling.

The Perry Police Department declined to be interviewed for this story and our requests for a copy of the incident report. PPD says despite that grand jury decision, the case is still open, under investigation and they are even considering new evidence.

State records show the daycare had been cited as “non-compliant” on not one but two different occasions, including a violation reported about five weeks before Jersi’s death. That violation was for having seven children under 3 years old, which is more than allowed by Florida law.

This is absolutely heartbreaking. No family should lose a child like this and not have anyone brought to justice for their lack of care and concern. As little Jersi's father stated, this is NEGLECT all day.

The family has hired a lawyer to pursue the case further.

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