Texas Day Care Owner Seen Shopping at Time of Fire

Texas Day Care Owner Seen Shopping at Time of Fire

Investigators say Jessica Tata, a Houston day care operator who left the children she was watching alone, was shopping when the deadly fire started at the facility.

Published March 1, 2011

Emergency personnel respond to a fire at a day care operated by Jessica Tata in Houston. Tata has been charged with reckless injury to a child involving serious bodily injury. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Michael Paulsen, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Investigators say a Houston day care operator who left the children she was watching alone was shopping when the deadly fire started at the facility. The blaze killed four children.

A probable cause affidavit made public Tuesday says surveillance video shows 22-year-old Jessica Tata shopping at a Target store about a mile away from the home at the time the fire began.

Investigators believe last week's fire was started by a stove top burner that had been left on.

Tata has been charged with reckless injury to a child involving serious bodily injury and has fled to her native Nigeria. Authorities are working to locate her.

Two of the injured children remain hospitalized but are stable and improving.

Written by Juan A. Lozano, Associated Press

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