Update: Day care fire victim's mother hires attorney

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's been one month since fire destroyed  the Jefferson Home Day Care on Mill Branch Drive in Columbus, killing one year old Michael "Mikey" Dubard, Jr. 

Dana Richardson, his mother, says the tragic death of her son is harder now than it was when it first happened. She reflects on the first moments she laid eyes on his badly burned body.

"As deformed as he was, I just saw my baby, I just wanted to save him. But, there was nothing I could do and it hurts so bad."

At that time, little Mikey was clinging to live in a burn center in Augusta, GA.  He had been airlifted by paramedics as 'John Doe' while Richardson frantically searched for Mikey at the Columbus Regional Hospital. She says she learned about the fire while watching a breaking news alert on News Leader 9.

"When I got to the medical center, they took me in to see this little boy, and I said, "this is not my son, where is Mikey? Then, I learned that he'd been flown to Augusta.  I got in my car and drive there and I identified him as my son."

Thirty days later, Dana is still waiting for answers. She wants to know how it happened and why. She was hoping Rochelle Jefferson, her longtime friend and day care owner, would clear up the confusion.

"I got her cell phone number and I called her. Mikey had just passed; it was very emotional. She said she wanted to reach out to me, but people told her she shouldn't and that was very hurting to me. She said she loved me, she loved Mikey and she would never do anything to hurt him and that they all tried."

The agency that oversees Georgia's day cares, Bright From The Start and the Columbus Fire Department are still searching for clues. Stacey Moore, Director of Public Relations, says she has no idea when the findings will be completed, but they are conducting a thorough investigation.

In the meantime, Thomas Streeter, Fire Marshal, says The Columbus Fire Department and insurance companies for Jefferson's home and vehicles that burned during the fire will team up at the Mill Branch site Thursday to began sifting through the ashes in search of answers.

Richardson has retained Willie Gary, a high profile attorney from Florida to represent her in any legal matters regarding the death of her son.  Gary also provided counsel for Kenneth Walker's family. He was shot and killed by a Muscogee County Sheriff's Deputy in December 2003.

Jefferson's husband says his wife is having a hard time with the ordeal. They have hired Attorney Jerry Buchanan of Columbus.

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