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Day care operator charged in girl's death also wrote book

OLATHE — A former Olathe day-care operator facing criminal charges in the death of an 18-month-old girl has written a book on how to operate a day care.

Jeanette L. Lawrence, 46, also appeared this week in Johnson County Court and waived her right to hear evidence against her, which can indicate ongoing plea negotiations.

She is charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated endangerment of a child and violating day care regulations by having more children than allowed.

Ava Patrick suffocated in April after her neck got caught in the upper slats of a wooden fence that enclosed children in a room at Lawrence's home.

Lawrence's book, which recently came out on Amazon.com, is called "Your Child's Daycare: Everything you need to know from start to finish" and sells for $18.99.

Her lawyer, John Gerstle, said his client had been writing the book for years and its publication now is a coincidence. She is paying to publish it, and Amazon is distributing it, he said.

"So far her profits have been $21," he said. Later editions of it include a tribute, "In memory of AOP" that is related to Ava's death, he said.

"She grieves daily over the loss of this child," Gerstle said. If the book ever makes money, his client intends to donate to a charity associated with Ava and her parents, he said.

Ava's mother, Alecia Patrick, declined to comment Tuesday. After Ava's death, she did research and started an Internet site, daycareaware.com, on how to select providers.

The next hearing on the Lawrence case is in January.

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