NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Jessica Cherry, the operator of an unlicensed home-based childcare center who’s charged in the death of a 2-year-old in her care, had her first in-person hearing in Norfolk court on Monday.
Cherry was shackled and in a prison jumpsuit before the judge in the brief hearing.
Cherry’s family members were not in court but the mother of 2-year-old Kaylee Thomas was there. Kaylee was found unresponsive on August 18, 2020, at Cherry’s home in the 1300 block of Jenifer Street. She was taken to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, where she was pronounced dead.
After Kaylee’s death, Cherry was charged with felony attempted malicious wounding, abuse and neglect in connection with incidents involving other children. As the investigation continued last summer police started viewing hours of video of activities in the home.
According to evidence submitted in a bond hearing last year, detectives saw video that they said showed reflections of Cherry abusing other children a week before Kaylee died.
The investigation continued and in January, authorities charged Cherry separately with second-degree murder in connection with Kaylee’s death.
She is still facing the charges in connection with the incidents involving other children.
Back in September during a bond hearing, a Norfolk prosecutor said police are also investigating another death of a child that happened in Cherry’s care in January 2020. Cherry has not been charged in relation to that investigation.
After the hearing on Monday, Cherry was returned to the Norfolk City Jail, where she is being held on no bond. If she is indicted by a grand jury next month, the case will be set for trial.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly stated Cherry was facing multiple charges in connection with Kaylee’s death. She is only facing second-degree murder in Kaylee’s case.