Officials: Woman Killed 3 Kids in Home Day Care Center

A woman who ran a child-care center from her home has been charged in the deaths of three infants dating to nearly a decade ago, authorities said.

Andrea Marnette Person, 39, was indicted Tuesday in the April 2 suffocation death of 2-month-old Michael Harris Walker, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. A coroner ruled the infant had died of "intentional asphyxiation."

That child's death led to the investigation that uncovered the two others, for which she has been charged with homicide by child abuse.

The death of a 1-year-old boy in Person's care in 1998 was originally attributed to sudden infant death syndrome, but authorities now say Person smothered the child with her hands.

She also has been charged in the 2001 death of a 4-month-old boy. The infant died of dehydration after he was left near a heater, authorities said.

The children were being cared for in Person's home in a Columbia suburb. There were no complaints made against Person, according to the Department of Social Services.

Person was being held in jail without bond. A message left for her lawyer, Carl B. Grant, was not immediately returned.