Jury finds Florida daycare owner guilty of murder in child's death

Jury finds daycare owner guilty of murder in child's death

A Milton daycare owner accused of the death of a child will spend the rest of her life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder.

"We have to pick up our pieces, no matter how broken we feel right now and we will continue to move forward and we will not stop fighting until justice is done and our mother is home where she belongs," Lowery's daughter, Angela Perry said.

After hours of deliberation, the jury came forward with their decision around 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

It was October 2014 when a 9-1-1 call came from a Santa Rosa County, Florida home daycare run by Thelma Lowery. She claimed a child who'd been put down for a nap threw up and then went into a seizure.

Lowery told first responders 15-month-old Brodie Kent had been struck in the head with a wood block earlier that day by another child. Five days after being hospitalized, Brodie died.

Throughout the trial doctors have taken to the stand against Lowery, saying Brodie's injuries were no accident.

A retina specialist described the condition of the child's eyes.

"There was evidence of multilayer pre-retinal, intraretinal and subretinal hemorrhages in both eyes," explained Dr. Aref Rifai.

A brain surgeon described Brodie's injuries to the jury. He described finding a blood clot and bleeding after removing a portion of the child's skull to relieve swelling.

Dr. Mathew Pearson said Brodie's injuries were so bad he couldn't close the opening.

"The bleeding, the swelling I should say, was so severe; at that point so severe that we couldn't even close that," Dr. Pearson said.

Perry said her mother has run a professional daycare for 23 years without incident. More than that, she said that Kent was family.

"He was not just a child in my mother's daycare," Perry said. "I also took care of Brodie in that daycare."

Lowery was immediately sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty. Her family said they plan to appeal.

Kent's parents told WEAR-TV that their son received justice today and they were happy with the verdict.

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