The case against the husband and wife owners of an unlicensed daycare facility where an infant died in March came to an end Monday in Prince William County Circuit Court, where the couple entered separate pleas and received suspended jail sentences.
Rocio del Pilar Chavez Pacheco, 37, pleaded guilty and her husband Joan Carlo Barra, 38, entered an Alford plea to separate charges in front of Judge Lon E. Farris, prosecutors said.
An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that prosecutors likely had enough evidence to convict him.
The couple had marketed their home daycare, Little Angels of the World Inc., in the 13200 block of Sapphire Ridge Place in Bristow, as a facility that offered individualized attention and a small-group setting, according to court documents and prosecutors.
When police responded to a 911 call in March, they found 23 children in the unlicensed daycare home, and expired or inauthentic certificates dotting the walls, according to police and court documents.
On Monday, Chavez Pacheco plead guilty to reduced charges of two counts of false pretenses for the false advertising and two counts of reckless endangerment of a child for the youngest children, who did not have adequate supervision. She was sentenced to a total of six years in prison, all of which Farris suspended, and three years of probation.
Her husband, Barra, who prosecutors say was less involved in the scheme, had the bulk of his charges dropped for offering an Alford plea to four counts of operating an unlicensed daycare, a misdemeanor.
Barra received a two year sentence, which was suspended. He also received two years of probation.
Authorities discovered the unlicensed daycare after a 911 call was placed for three-month-old Teagan Sample, whose lips had turned blue and who was not breathing after being placed on her back, court documents say.
The infant was later pronounced dead. However, prosecutors did not link the death specifically to the charges against the owners and two caretakers, Yolanda Larin and Mirna Mendez. Larin and Mendez have not yet been tried on charges of child endangerment.
The state Department of Social Services has declined to pursue its own case in the matter, prosecutors say.