By Molly Young

The Oregonian

Three caregivers indicted on felony charges last month after a baby died at their unlicensed Hood River day care are in jail.

Rochelle Jones, 51, and her wife, Debra Jones, 61, were booked into the regional jail Sunday. Debra Jones’ sister Donna Pilcher, 63, has been in the jail for a week.

The trio faces charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and first-degree criminal mistreatment of 4-month-old Cyrus Macioroski. They were charged with five counts of running an illegal day care.

Cyrus died May 15 in their care. He was placed to sleep surrounded by pillows on a bed in Debra Jones’ bedroom and left unmonitored, according to court records. He was discovered unresponsive sometime later by Rochelle Jones’ adult son.

The court records say Cyrus attended Mama Bear’s day care with his older brother and several other young children. Oregon law requires day cares to obtain licenses if they care for that many children. Mama Bear’s did not have one.

In fact, in April 2017, the state Office of Child Care revoked the license of a different day care, Mama Shell’s, run by the same women. The action occurred after an investigation by the Department of Human Services. A child welfare case worker concluded she had reason to believe claims that children were fed melatonin pills to make them sleep and were threatened with physical harm by Rochelle Jones.

After the state pulled the license from Mama Shell’s, the women opened as Mama Bear’s, prosecutors allege.

The state’s designated child care regulator for Hood River County, Julie Smith, is accused of helping Rochelle Jones reopen to children and parents. Smith faces misdemeanor charges of official misconduct and operating a day care without a license.

She remains free. As of last week, she had been placed on leave, but not fired, by the state.

When the indictments of all four women came to light last week, police said they were working to find and arrest the Joneses. The couple had listed their Hood River house for sale shortly after Cyrus died. Rochelle Jones discussed moving in her most recent posts on social media.

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