Lawsuit: 7-month-old ‘violently shook’ by Myrtle Beach daycare employee, leading to serious injuries

Lawsuit: 7-month-old ‘violently shook’ by Myrtle Beach daycare employee, leading to serious injuries
A lawsuit has been filed against the Busy Bodies Child Care Center in Myrtle Beach over allegations that a child was hurt by an employee. (Source: WMBF News file photo)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The parents of a young child have filed a lawsuit against a Myrtle Beach daycare, accusing an employee of hurting their then-seven-month-old.

According to the lawsuit filed Aug. 31, Busy Bodies Child Care, employee Lona Thomas and director Gladys Knuesel were all named as defendants.

An investigation started when officers were called on Nov. 1, 2019 to the daycare on Highway 15 for a report of an unresponsive infant.

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According to an arrest warrant, the investigation and medical examination determined the child suffered great bodily injury while in the care of Thomas.

“Prior to November 1, 2019 (the child) was a happy and healthy infant who showed no signs of health concerns or developmental delays,” the lawsuit states.

The child’s mother received a call at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 stating “something was wrong” with the infant, who was being transferred to Grand Strand Medical Center, according to the suit.

Hospital staff were told the child suffered from a “choking incident” and initial diagnostic studies were inconclusive as to the true cause of the infant’s condition, court documents stated.

Around Nov. 4, the child reportedly started having seizures. Follow-up procedures raised the “suspicion of physical trauma” at the hands of an adult, the lawsuit alleges.

The child was eventually transferred from Grand Strand Medical Center to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for further treatment.

A physician at MUSC determined the child’s injuries were most likely caused by an adult “who violently shook” the child shortly before 911 calls were made by staff at Busy Bodies, court documents state.

Thomas was eventually arrested and charged with great bodily injury upon a child. A search of the Horry County Public Index shows her case is still moving through the court system.

The child’s parents are asking for actual and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.

WMBF News has reached out to Busy Bodies managers for comment on the allegations in the lawsuit.

Knuesel previously said Thomas is not responsible for what happened to the child. Her side of the story is the baby started choking while in Thomas’ care.

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