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Daycare worker convicted in heatstroke death

MOBILE (AP) — A jury took less than an hour Wednesday to convict daycare worker Avis Betts of manslaughter in the heatstroke death of a 2-year-old girl forgotten in a parked van for over an hour.

Amiyah White died Sept. 20, 2005 in the sweltering hot van.

Betts and co-worker Mary Grove, 62, had taken 10 children from the Holy Church of God Daycare in west Mobile for an unscheduled trip, without permission from the children's parents.

It was about 90 minutes after they returned before they realized they had left one child in the van. They found the toddler slumped over in the back seat of the locked van where it was estimated temperatures inside had reached well over 100 degrees.

Betts' defense attorney, Jeff Deen, contended the death was an accident. But Mobile County prosecutors told the jury Betts failed to take several key steps which led to the child's death.

Betts didn't use a roll call sheet or make a head-count of the children after returning from the trip. She didn't double check the van to make sure all the children were out, and as a result, she was negligent in her duties.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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