Crime Stoppers Offers Reward In Daycare Death Mystery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to a felony arrest in the homicide case of Baby Louis 'Lou' Oliver. NBC 7’s Wendy Fry has been following the story and has details. (Published Saturday, May 24, 2014)

    Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to a felony arrest in the homicide case of Baby Louis 'Lou' Oliver.

    Eleven-month-old Baby Lou was alert and healthy when his mom dropped him off at San Diego Daycare in Clairemont on May 23, 2012. That's where detectives believe the homicide happened.

    "He always had a smile on his face, even when he was very, very little. Just very alert," said Cristina Oliver, the mother. "Just very happy, very lovable and very determined." 

    Oliver took her son to his Clairemont home daycare before heading into work.

    Lou had been attending San Diego Daycare, also called James Nemeth Family Childcare, full-time for about two months.

    The primary caretaker was owner James Nemeth. A few hours after dropping off Lou, Cristina received an alarming text message from Nemeth.

    "It said 'Come quickly, Lou did not wake up from his afternoon nap,'” recalled Cristina.

    Lou was rushed by ambulance to Rady Children's Hospital.

    “It seemed like an hour before we got the results and it was then determined that, that he was really brain dead,” said Cristina.

    Lou Oliver was declared dead at 1:30 a.m. May 24, 2012.

    His parents waited anxiously to find out what had happened to their son.

    “We were told by the medical team that perhaps it was a virus and they wouldn't know until an autopsy was performed. We assumed that was the only reasonable explanation,” said Cristina.

    Three months after Lou's death, the Olivers received horrifying news.

    The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Lou's death a homicide.

    The little boy had suffered head and spine trauma. The report states injuries were consistent to "shaken baby syndrome."

    "I think I was the one that was in the most horror and disbelief that something like this would actually happen to us and that someone would actually harm our son," Cristina said. "The thought never crossed my mind, so when we found out it was a homicide, it was absolutely devastating to me that someone could actually hurt our son." 

    San Diego Police detectives say two of the three 'persons of interests' in the case are being uncooperative with police. Those 'persons of interest' include James Nemeth, who owns San Diego Daycare where Baby Lou suffered the traumatic injuries that ended his life.

    "I don't know how they're living with their conscience at this point right now. I can't imagine the burden and the guilt that they must be feeling with right now," she said. "And we just hope that they will do the right thing or they share their story with someone else and that person will do the right thing." 

    Detectives told NBC 7 they need the public's help and for someone to step forward with information, since those who were at the San Diego Daycare that day are not cooperating with their investigation.

    "It's just appalling," said father Michael Oliver. "For someone to not want to help in any way they can - in any way - is just absurd." 

    Homicide Lt. Manuel Del Toro said the baby's murder was a heinous crime, and one in which police do not yet have enough evidence to charge someone.

    "There were three people who were at the daycare, according to experts' testimony about when the murder occurred," Del Toro said. "We believe that one of those individuals at the daycare is responsible for the death of Louis Oliver." 

    Louis' dad Michael Oliver told NBC 7 his family is hoping and waiting for answers.

    "I still have faith in our justice system that we're going to get justice for Lou. We're not going to stop pushing for that. I owe it to my son to get him justice," Oliver said. "It's hard to start our true grieving process when we still haven't gotten the person to be held accountable that did this." 

    Nemeth, who did not respond to a request for comment, is appealing a decision by the state to shut down his San Diego Daycare facility. SDPD says they are opposing that appeal this summer.

    NBC7 has been following this case partly because Baby Lou's story helped prompt changes to the way the state tracks and provides information to parents about serious violations at home daycares.

    Our investigative team found that before Baby Lou's death, Nemeth had a lenghty history of serious violations, including accusations he was physically rough with his own child.

    Anyone with any information on this case is asked to call the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Anonymous email and text messages can be sent in via www.sdcrimestoppers.org.


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