Savannah Cross died Dec. 11, 2012 while in the care of Allison Ann Clement and Ryan Alan Reed at a Phoenix daycare facility. (Source: Facebook)
Allison Ann Clement and Ryan Alan Reed were originally booked on charges of felony child abuse.(Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A Phoenix couple accused of running a unlicensed babysitting business out of their home have been indicted for child abuse.
Allison Clement and Ryan Reed are both charged with second-degree murder and child abuse for the Dec. 11, 2012 death of 2-year old Savannah Cross who was in their care.
Reed and Clement were originally indicted for murder and child abuse in 2012 but those charges were later dropped.
The suspects had been watching Savannah on a full-time basis since October. Reed admitted to abusing the girl by striking, kicking and roughly grabbing the victim, Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said.
Clement told investigators she saw the incidents of abuse but did nothing to intervene and did not seek medical aid for the child's injuries, Crump said.
Crump said the child was pronounced dead at a hospital after she was found not breathing about 7 a.m. at the home near Southern Avenue and 45th Street.
Crump said there were obvious signs of trauma to the child.
Crump said the mother of the deceased child often would leave her for days or weeks at a time at the couple's home. Police say they have extensively interviewed the mother and she is cooperating fully.
Crump said the child had been at the home for several months with little if any contact from a parent or guardian. He said the child had been at the home since July and that the mother would periodically show up to pick up the child or pay for the service.
CBS 5 News contacted Stephen Cross, Savannah's father, who lives in Colorado. He said he believed Savannah's mother when she said the little girl was with sitters only while she worked.
"That's what she told me and that's what I believed. If I would have known that she was being left with complete strangers for weeks on end, I would have been down there in a skinny minute to get my daughter," said Cross.
Police said they will rely on the medical examiner to determine the timing of the injuries.
"We don't believe that the mother has seen her since Thanksgiving. We will wait to hear from the medical examiner's office on when they believe these injuries occurred and take statements from the suspects. If there is any of these injuries that may have been long term or extended than we might hold somebody else responsible," said Crump.
Cross described his little girl as precious and happy. He said she loved pancakes.
"She was loving, caring, you know, all smiles, just an adorable young woman and she's very missed here," said Cross.
Four other children were in the home at the time of the death, including two belonging to the couple running the home business that is advertised on Craigslist, according to Crump. The couple's children were turned over to Child Protective Services.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >