KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri family is warning other parents to do their homework when choosing a child care provider after learning a woman convicted of endangering their daughter might be trying to run an in-home day care.
Zariah Myers is a playful little girl about to turn 4, but her mom knows it's a miracle Zariah is happy and healthy.
"I cried. I was scared," said Meredith Tucker, Zariah's mom.
In September 2017, while in the care of her stepmom, Zariah was rushed to the hospital. Tucker was told the toddler had fallen down a flight of steps.
Zariah had bruising all over her body and doctors diagnosed her with a brain bleed, injuries they said were a result of child abuse, according to court and medical records.
"I just looked at her and just didn't know how someone could harm such a little tiny sweet little girl. She's so sweet," Christyn Dye, Zariah's cousin, said.
Since Zariah's stepmother, Kelsie Myers, was the only one around when the injuries happened, prosecutors charged her with endangering the welfare of a child. After a two-year legal battle, Myers pleaded guilty to the charge last week.
"It's the hardest thing a parent has to go through, and I don't wish it on anybody," Tucker said.
But as the court case was ending, Zariah's family learned Myers was advertising her in-home day care online.
"I looked at that and was like, 'How do you think you can be trusted with somebody else's kids? You couldn't even take care of your stepdaughter, let alone somebody else's kids,'" Dye said.
Tucker said she hopes all parents will take the time to be diligent and thoroughly research anyone they might consider as a child care provider.
"You need to look into everything. Look up child abuse and neglect registry, the sex offender registry, look on CaseNet," Dye said.
Also watch for red flags, like a lack of references and a limited number of children they're willing to watch, which could allow them to babysit without needing a state day care license.