Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids
A jury found Jessica Tata guilty of murder for a 2011 fire that killed four children at her home day care.
November 13th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids

A jury in Houston has found Jessica Tata guilty of murder in the deaths of four children in a fire.

Tata's carelessness led to the fire at her home day care in 2011 and she then fled - with seven children trapped inside, evidence showed.  Three children were injured but survived.

CNN affiliate KTRK reports that Tata could face up to 99 years in prison.

After the fire in February last year, Tata fled to Nigeria.  The U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives.  The service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."

She was arrested in Nigeria and brought back in less than a month.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Nigeria • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Rick


    November 14, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. midas

    For the love of god take care of your own kids!

    November 14, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Shana

      Spoken like someone who either doesn't have children, or has never had to work. Must be nice to have all the answers.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      There is nothing wrong with sending a child to a day care, that's why you pay them $$ to trust them with the help that one needs when parents need to work and support the family.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |

      Either you are wealthy -or- you probaly live on warefare making all of us that do work and pay for child care pay for you to stay at home get fat and live from are working paying.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Some people can't care for their own children because they are too busy providing for their own children. You can't just print money ya know. But people should be cautious about where they send their children. I wouldn't trust a home daycare EVER! I take mine to an actual daycare. Liscenced and insured, well staffed and plenty of other kids of different age groups. There is no one person, behind closed doors, with no accountability that is responsible for my child.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • gowest

      Midas, I agree with you. We are not rich and my husband is an enlisted soldier, so the money is tight. But my children sure know that I love them because I raise them myself. Putting your children in daycare has very little to do with your lack of money (okay, unless you're a single parent and not by choice). A child who has both a mom and a dad and is being raised by someone else is just wrong. A large house and an extra car won't make a difference in lyou kid's life, but not having you there day after day is going to have disastrous impact. Don't have them if you won't raise them.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Working Mother

      gowest...I am a divorced, working mother. I chose not to live an unhappy life with my ex-husband, because I do not believe that is a good environment for children. I do not work to have a bigger house or an extra car. I work because I need to provide a place for my children to live, food for them to eat, heat in the winter, electricity, etc. I have an AWESOME child care provider for my children. She is wonderful to and for my kids. That does not mean she raises them. Part of raising your children is making sure they are cared for, even if it is by a child care provided. It is not like I have a nanny that cares for them 24/7. Unfortunately, I do have to work to provide for them. Would I rather stay home and raise my children? Of course. But that is NOT POSSIBLE for so many people. I am glad to hear that you have the type of life style that allows you to do so, but you have no right to tell me that I shouldn't have my children if I can't stay home and raise them. I guarantee you, I love MY children every bit as much as you love yours!

      November 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cortanis

    Wow, I remember seeing the first story on this. Glad they got her back to face her consequences.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. mik

    Horrifying! I can't imagine fleeing a home, knowing children are going to die if you don't take action. She doesn't show 1% of remorse, pitiful! Throw the book at her.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Brandylu54

      You are right, all she had to do was make a 911 call and the children would have had a chance to survive. Jail is to good for her. Eye for and eye.

      November 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. P0lar

    What a soulless piece of garbage... she should be skinned alive, then rolled in salt.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. David

    What kind of sick person would do this? I vote a merciful death penalty.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Brandylu54

      Why merciful DP? Did she give those poor babies any chance to survive???? HELL NO!

      November 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hollywood

    Lock her up and throw away the key.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. TJH

    This isnt a case of being racist or anything. This was a horrific case of negligent homicide and trying to flee from the country to avoid whatever prison is coming her way. This woman should have the pictures of the dead children in her cell to look at every day for the rest of her life and beg forgiveness from the Creator for mercy on her soul.

    I have seen the tapes of her shopping and joking around leaving the stove on while she shopped. Why she left them alone is another matter and totally inexcusable. It is not about parenting or leaving one parent home to deal with the kids. It is just a horrible case of someone who did not care, nor should have had a daycare license in the first place.

    All I will say is simply this. Parents make sure you do your homework on your babysitters and daycare operators. I doubt this was her first issue on being a daycare worker.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Constantine17642489;)

    What a dumb brod

    November 14, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. H-town Girl

    This article is incorrect. She was found guilty for the death of one of the 4 children. She will also be tried for the death of the other 3 in separate trials. The people of Houston are hoping she will be put away for life once she is tried for all 4 deaths. Also if it were not for the diligence of one local news station going to Nigeria to track her down she would still be there.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • TJH

      She is right it was just one of the toddlers she was on trial for. But I do hope they get her on trial for the others.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Just Me

    Just has to be served for these little ones.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Me


      November 14, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Hamurabi_had_it_Right!

    Bring back the Code! Hamurabi had a solution for this!

    November 14, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      I'd have to agree with you there, but unfortunately, most people beleive that even murderers should be treated humanely.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. marg

    In the Texas, this Nigerian woman should have a sentence whereas she would never be elgible for parole. If necessary, she should have the DEATH PENALTY because she knew by LAW that those preschoolers should have never been left unattended. Since this woman had the audasity to leave a pot of oil over flame before leaving the house knowing that that could be fatal and cause fatalities, she ACTUALLY KILLED THE CHILDREN THAT DIED AND ATTEMPTED TO KILL THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE NOT DIED. Therefore this woman is a MURDERER. She may not had done it intentionally, but it sure was pre meditated BY LAW. Once again, these were preschool children who she was responsible for while being in her care as daycare provider. LICENSE OR NON LICENSE. The woman left America and went back to Nigeria because she knew what she did was wrong. She also fed the country(America) another crime committed.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. pmn

    I can't believe this women left this children to run "errands" as she had done before during nap time. I am sorry but 5 minutes is too long to not check up on someone elses children she was caring for. Its scary the people we should trust with our children take advantage to place our children in more harm. Its gives the other child care providers a bad rap who do provide great care. I did a register home for 1 year and quit due to other opportunities but I can tell those children where loved and cared for just like my own. I took care of those wonderful children with a very watchful eye. My parents were very lucky.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AnnieBell

    It's true, this case was just for one child. I'm sure she will end up getting life without parole....However this is Texas. Hopefully we get to throw some bricks.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      No this coward deserves the death penalty. We do not need another mouth to feed for life. She killed 4 children! She decided that her shopping was more important than their lives.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deborah

      Oh my Dear God....she MURDERED 4 toddlers!! and this is NOT her only fire! She in HS set them...she wanted to set the school itself on fire! After she is tried for the other 3, NO life sentence....DEATH SENTENCE for that cold hearted witch!! She left those babies alone, went shopping while those children were dying, I am sick to my stomach!!

      November 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
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