SAN ANTONIO — Mila Wallace was only 6 months old when she died at an in-home daycare facility in February of 2019. Nearly a year later, her mother, Hope Wallace, said she wants charges brought against the caretaker who was looking after her daughter during the final moments of her short life.
Wallace said she connected with the in-home care provider through the state, which paid for her childcare while she worked. She said she never imagined that she would one day get a call from the people she entrusted with her daughter informing her that her baby was unresponsive.
"That was my daughter," Wallace said. "I gave her everything and I was just trying to provide the best I can for her.”
Online records show Mila was left to sleep with blankets in a crib in a garage that had been converted to a room. The records show that air conditioning was not working at the time and that Mila's caregivers had propped open a door to cool the room where she was sleeping.
Additionally, the records state she was left unattended for at least two-and-a-half hours while her caregivers were in the living room.
"To find out she was placed face down and left in a hot room covered in blankets—it breaks my heart," Wallace said. "Because now I have to wonder every day for the rest of my life if my baby suffered.”
The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office said Mila's cause of death is listed as sudden, unexplained death in infancy, or SUDI. The Medical Examiner's office noted that SUDI is different from sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS.
On the day of Mila's death, investigators found 10 violations of state standards. Four of them were found to be high-risk violations.
The Texas Department of Family Protective Services website described the four high-risk violations as follows:
- Information resulting from a DFPS investigation determined appropriate supervision was not maintained for a 6 month old infant in care. The infant was being cared for in the converted garage used for child care, while the caregiver and others were in the living room for minimum of 2 ½ hours. The infant was found unresponsive and was later pronounced deceased at the operation.
- Information resulting from a DFPS investigation determined a caregiver was negligent in her actions when a 6 month old infant in care was not properly supervised or placed in a bare crib. These actions resulted in the infant being found unresponsive and later pronounced deceased while at the operation.
- Information resulting from a DFPS investigation determined a crib used by a 6 month old infant contained two blankets. This infant was found unresponsive.
- Information resulting from a DFPS investigation determined a 6 month old infant was placed on her stomach to sleep This infant was found unresponsive.
Wallace also shared a letter from the Department of Family Protective Services stating that investigators found "there was sufficient evidence to substantiate a finding of neglectful supervision."
San Antonio Police, however, said Mila's death has been extensively investigated and the evidence does not support criminal charges. Mila's manner of death remains undetermined.
The San Antonio Police Department's public information office shared the following statement:
"We sympathize with this mother’s anguish of losing her child. This case was thoroughly investigated by the homicide unit and the evidence does not indicate that the baby’s death was the result of foul play. Should new evidence come to light, we would conduct a reassessment of the case.”
Wallace said she continues to educate parents about how they can research their child's care provider.
“My daughter," Wallace said when asked what keeps her going. "It’s the last thing I get to do for her and I don’t want to let her down.”
Parents can look up licensed child care centers and registered child care home providers using the Texas Health and Human Services website. The website lists which violations were found at the respective facilities, as well as narratives which elaborate on the violations.
The website also lists child care operations that have had a permit revoked or involuntarily suspended in the last five years.