Officials investigate day care center after infant death

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

Four-month-old Gage Wilday was rushed to the hospital from Colette Libolt's day care center in West Seattle. The baby died at the hospital and now the day care center is under investigation.
Four-month-old Gage Wilday was rushed to the hospital from Colette Libolt's day care center in West Seattle. The baby died at the hospital and now the day care center is under investigation.
SEATTLE —

A Seattle day care center is under investigation after a four-month-old baby in the center’s care died on Monday, July 28.

A spokesperson for the Seattle Fire Department, Sue Stangl, said firefighters and medics responded to an in-home day care center at 8801 31st Ave. SW on Monday at 10:37 a.m.

Stangl said the child was unresponsive to CPR. Doctors announced the child dead when he arrived at the hospital. She said medics did not see any signs of trauma.

The King County Medical Examiner told KIRO 7 Seattle police are investigating the incident. The medical examiner also identified the child as Gage Wilday.

Wilday’s parents told KIRO 7 they are waiting for toxicology reports to confirm whether their baby died of sudden infant death syndrome.

The day care center is run by Colette Libolt, according to Washington Department of Early Learning records.

The department’s online database shows Libolt has operated the day care center since 1992. No one answered the door when KIRO 7 went to the home.

A spokesperson for the Department of Early Learning, Mark Varadian, said Libolt actually turned in her license documents before the child died. Varadian said officials found the documents Monday morning in an office lock box, which suggests they were left there sometime over the weekend. 

In the morning hours of July 28, officials had not yet take action regarding her license. The child died before noon, and the department suspended Libolt’s license on Tuesday, July 29.

Libolt’s day care is currently under a “no referral” status, which means the department is not referring parents there for child care. No complaints have been filed about the center since 2008, which is the earliest complaint records can be shown online.

However, a February inspection showed a series of issues Libolt’s center needed to fix. The Department of Early Learning noted that certain staff members still had pending background checks and some had not completed T.B. tests.

Notes also showed Libolt had not completed the required 10 hours of continued training, and some staff training records had not been completed.

Varadian told KIRO 7 Monday afternoon that records show Libolt corrected all of the issues marked in that inspection.

The Department of Social and Health Services gave KIRO 7 this statement about their investigation:

"The DSHS Children's Administration has a Division of Licensed Resources/Child Protective Services Investigation that investigates reports made to us alleging abuse and neglect of children at facilities  licensed or certified by the state to care for children. These includes foster homes, group or residential care facilities, family child care homes, child care centers and state regulated facilities.  In some cases when there are no allegations of abuse or neglect, DLR can conduct a risk assessment at the home or facility to ensure other children there are safe and secure.  This is the type of investigation DSHS is currently conducting at the day care." 

Neighbors who know Libolt said they have seen children come to the home for years. They told KIRO 7 they had a good impression of the day care. One neighbor also said she frequently saw cleaning companies at the house, which she believed to indicate the center was kept clean and orderly.

KIRO 7 will continue to follow up on the investigation and will update this story when the child’s official cause of death has been determined.