Cops: Nanny suffocated baby multiple times a day

August 17, 2012 (HOUSTON)

Tirza Magana, 48, is behind bars on a $10,000 bond, charged with endangering a child. She is the nanny a couple of parents in Midtown Houston claim they caught on hidden camera abusing their baby.

Magana was in the family's home for five months. Court documents say nanny cam video shows Magana placing her hands over the child's nose and mouth.

"She places both hands over the complainant's nose and mouth and applies force... causing the baby to flail about, struggling to breathe."

Police say another video shows Magana "holding the baby up by her head... as the child's dangling body made jerking movements."

Workers at Spy Emporium in Midtown said they've heard tales like this before. They say a large portion of their hidden-camera business comes from curious parents who want to keep an eye on their nannies through a wide range of discreet devices.

"No, no I'm not surprised at all," said Angel Araiza with Spy Emporium. "DVD players, alarm clocks, radios, iPod dock stations, lamps, even tissue boxes."

Police say the couple who hired Magana set up their surveillance cameras back in May after noticing their 4-month-old daughter acting strange and lethargic.

Police say they interviewed Magana, who identified herself in the surveillance videos and reportedly admitted suffocating the baby multiple times each day over the course of a month. They say Magana also acknowledged that her actions could have killed the baby.

"Child care licensing does not regulate nannies. We do not regulate if someone comes into your home," said Gwen Carter with Child Protective Services.

She says parents need to be very cautious when hiring someone to care for their kids.

"When you decide to have a nanny or someone come into your home, you can do a criminal background check. Of course there are ways to do it online. However, you still need to be incredibly cautious because you may not know about that person's dealings with other agencies, including child care licensing or Child Protective Services," Carter said.

According to police, doctors said the baby was at risk for suffocation and neck or spine injuries due to Magana's alleged actions.

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