The woman charged in a deadly day care fire that killed four small children is back in Texas, an official said Tuesday. Jessica Tata, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Nigeria, fled to Lagos shortly after the fatal fire at her Houston home in February.
She was transported to the Harris County Jail early Tuesday morning, said Christina Garza, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Tata arrived in Atlanta Monday morning and was booked into the Fulton County Jail, officials said in a statement. She made an appearance in magistrate court, where she waived her extradition rights. Investigators allege that Tata, a 22-year-old day care owner, left seven children alone at her Houston day care center with the stove on while she went to a store. Four children died, and three others were injured in the blaze.
Tata was taken into custody Saturday in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, by Interpol and U.S. diplomatic security agents, officials said.
At a news conference Monday, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee said Tata turned herself in to authorities after a “monumental” effort between the U.S. and Nigerian governments, along with Tata’s family in Lagos.
“We now have the opportunity to move forward,” Lee said, adding that she worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria and spoke with the Nigerian ambassador to the United States to make sure Tata’s return was a “top priority.”