A Camden County babysitter has been charged with causing the death of an 11-month-old boy in her care in July, authorities announced Wednesday.
Lori Laquitara, 45, of Voorhees, was charged Tuesday with the murder of Stephen Torrey, one of two children of Robert and Jennifer Torrey of Williamstown. The boy suffered a 3 1/2-inch fracture on the rear of his skull, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and Voorhees police said. Laquitara was arraigned Wednesday.
Laquitara provided inconsistent explanations for the injury, authorities said. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
The woman, whose husband worked with Robert Torrey, babysat Stephen at her Voorhees home, on the 300 block of Preston Avenue, from 2 p.m. July 10 until police were called around 9:40 a.m. the next day. He died July 12 at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, authorities said.
Laquitara told police that the baby had fallen out of bed around 6 a.m. July 11 and hit his head on the plug of a computer adapter cord, according to officials. She said she had fed Stephen, put him back to sleep, and fed him again at 8 a.m., officials said.
She left the baby on the carpeted floor while she went to get baby wipes and heard him topple over and hit his head again, Laquitara told authorities. She discovered the unresponsive child had vomited and went to get aid, she said.
Laquitara later said Stephen had hit his head in a wooden stairwell in her home while she sought help, authorities said.
On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown ordered Laquitara to have no unsupervised contact with children and no contact with the Torrey family. She was being in the Camden County jail on $600,000 bail.
Laquitara, who authorities said had no previous criminal record, had babysat Stephen before but never overnight, according to officials.
Stephen's obituary on July 15 in the Gloucester County Times read: "Little Stevie's 11 months on earth were filled with laughter and smiles bringing joy to everyone he touched."