Now that day care operator Jessica Tata is the focus of an international manhunt, her return to Houston is a main concern.
Local authorities have asked the U.S. Marshal’s Office to assist in bringing Tata back to face charges stemming from a fatal fire that killed four children and injured three.
Though the District Attorney’s Office is confident it will be able to extradite Tata back to Harris County, it could take weeks or months for that to happen.
Tata, 22, fled to Nigeria after it was alleged that she left the seven youngsters alone at her west Houston home day care while she went shopping. A pot of oil on a hot stovetop burner was believed to be the source of the fire.
Tata was first charged with reckless injury to a child in connection with the fire. A warrant was issued for her arrest and bond was set at $500,000. The Harris County District attorney later announced that additional charges would be filed against Tata – seven counts of reckless injury to a child and three additional charges of child endangerment.
The children who died were identified as Elias Castillo, 18 months old; Elizabeth Kajoh and Kendyll Stradford, both 20 months old; and Shomari Dickerson, age three.
Two surviving children are in critical condition at Shriners Hospital in Galveston. The third surviving child was released from the hospital.
Meanwhile, County District Attorney Pat Lykos responded to accusations from some Houston Fire Department members that her office did not act quickly enough to prevent Tata from leaving town.
“I am deeply disappointed that certain people have chosen to cast blame in the media,” Lykos said. “These statements are unprofessional and they are counterproductive. What we need to do is to have Miss Tata in custody.”
DEFENDER NEWS SERVICE