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Texas day care owner charged with murder in fire

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Dad: 'I knew the worst had happened'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jessica Tata is currently at a Houston-area jail
  • Four children died at her Houston day care in February
  • Tata faces four murder charges
  • She had previously been charged with six counts of reckless injury to a child and several charges of manslaughter

(CNN) -- The owner of a Houston day care where four small children perished in a fire will face four counts of murder in those deaths, court records showed Thursday.

Jessica Tata had previously been charged with six counts of reckless injury to a child and several charges of manslaughter. She will be in court to face the new charges on Friday.

Tata, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Nigeria, fled to the African nation shortly after the fatal fire at her Houston home in February. She was taken into custody almost a month later in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, by Interpol and U.S. diplomatic security agents, officials said.

Tata's first stop on her return to the United States was Atlanta, where she was booked into the Fulton County Jail. After waiving her extradition rights during an appearance in magistrate court, Tata was transported to the Harris County Jail in Texas.

Day care operator may have fled country
RELATED TOPICS
  • Jessica Tata
  • Daycare
  • Fires
  • Houston (Texas)
  • Nigeria

Investigators allege that Tata, 22, 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 fire.

U.S. Marshals joined the search after Harris County authorities determined that Tata had left the Houston area. They added her their 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list in early March.

CNN's Antoinette Campbell contributed to this report.