BRADENTON -- Isabella Nicole Beardsley was 3 months old, described by her mother as "bubbly, happy and healthy," when she stopped breathing and died on a Thursday morning in a Bradenton day care center.
Steven and Loretta Carbone, operators of Carbone Family Day Care Home, 6506 38th Ave. Circle W., Bradenton, where Isabella died on Aug. 18, 2011, were charged, after an investigation by the Bradenton Police Department and Florida Department of Children and Families, with operating a day care without a license, a misdemeanor, according to the state attorney's office.
Nearly a year and a half after Isabella's death, the Carbones faced Judge Robert A. Farrance on Monday in Courtroom 6C of the Manatee County Judicial Center in a hearing, where defendants can discuss a plea or request a trial.
The Carbones' lawyer, William Price, asked for and was granted a continuance to Jan. 8, the fifth continuance of the case.
The complicated case, which has frustrated Isabella's parents, Donald and Sunnie Beardsley of Bradenton, is steadily moving toward justice, Heather Doyle, Manatee County court division chief for the state attorney's office said Monday.
"We are aggressively prosecuting this case and preparing for trial in January," said Doyle, who added that she could not go into the details of the case.
The Beardsleys have studied the medical examiner's report, which lists Isabella's death as "undetermined," and not as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as well as reports from Blake Medical Center and Manatee County EMS to understand why their daughter died on the fourth day she had been in the Carbones' care.
The Beardsleys older daughter, Chloe, now 6, attended the preschool for two years, from ages 1 to 3 years old, and never had a problem, the family said.
For awhile after Isabella's death, the Beardsleys held the Carbones harmless in the death, they said.
But then they began to study the reports and had questions, they said.
The Manatee County EMS team that arrived at the Carbones' after a 911 call at approximately 10:46 a.m. described Isabella in their report as "cold, blue-lipped, pale, with no respiration and no heart beat."
The Beardsleys wonder how their child could be found cold all over if she was just found not breathing moments before the EMS arrived.
The Beardsleys said they have horrible images of their child being placed in a playpen for an extended period and not checked.
As for operating without a license, the Beardsleys said they would have not put Isabella in the home had they known it wasn't officially licensed by DCF at the time.
At the courthouse Monday, Price refused comment and did not permit his clients to tell the Herald their side of the story.
Doyle is careful to point out that the misdemeanor charge was the only charge requested by the Bradenton Police Department after its investigation.
A call to Bradenton Police officials Monday was not immediately returned.
"We file the highest charge we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt," Doyle said.
Perhaps the question that haunts the Beardsleys the most is if the Carbone Family Day Care Home is still operating.
A caller Monday to a phone number listed for Carbone Family Day Care Home was told it was a wrong number.