Florida day care worker arrested, accused of breaking child’s leg

Yamirka Menendez. (Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

TAMPA, Fla. – A worker at a Florida day care center hit a 1-year-old boy and then dropped the child to the floor, causing serious injuries, officials said.

Yamirka Menendez, 51, was seen on surveillance video removing the child from a mechanical swing at the Time of Wonder Academy on Sept. 8, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. The video shows her swinging the child about 3 feet (1 meter) in the air and then dropping him to the floor, investigators said.

Later that day, the same child was in the swing again when the video shows Menendez striking him in the head, authorities said.

Sheriff’s officials said the boy was unable to stand upright or place weight on his left foot and leg after the fall.

The next day, the child’s mother took him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa after noticing he was experiencing pain in his foot. He was diagnosed with a fracture to the tibia and fibula, the sheriff’s report said.

On Sept. 23, the boy was examined by medical staff at the University of South Florida’s Child Protection Team, which found his injuries were signs of physical abuse. They filed a report with the sheriff’s office.

Detectives reviewed videos at the day care center, and Menendez was arrested on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said. She now faces child abuse charges.

A second worker was in the room at the time of the incident and is facing a charge of failure to report child abuse.

The incidents have also been reported to Hillsborough County Child’s Licensing.

Court records don’t list lawyers who could speak on behalf of Menendez or the other employee.

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