Woman arrested after death at unlicensed daycare

Joyell Marks-Johnson

A Minot woman has been accused of operating an unlicensed daycare after a 15-month-old child allegedly in her care was found dead at her residence.

According to court documents, emergency responders were dispatched to the residence of Joyell Marks-Johnson, 48, Minot, in the afternoon of Sept. 20 after receiving a report of an unresponsive infant. Investigators determined that the only adult at the address at the time of the incident was Marks-Johnson’s son Joey Johnson, 24, Minot.

Johnson reportedly contacted the child’s mother after discovering the child unresponsive. Johnson and the child’s mother then left to take the child in her vehicle to Trinity Hospital but intercepted the ambulance about a mile from the residence. The child was soon declared deceased. The statement released by Ward County Sheriff Robert Roed indicated the investigation into the death of the child is ongoing.

When investigators arrived on the scene, a number of small children were present with no adult present. One deputy noted that he later counted at least seven vehicles lined up to pick up the children, some picking up more than one child. Johnson and Marks-Johnson were both interviewed after they returned to the home. Marks-Johnson said that she was a daycare provider, who operated under the name “Marked for Joy,” and that she was watching only three or four children at the home at the time. She said she had left the children in Johnson’s care to run errands.

According to the affidavit, investigators spoke with a Ward County social worker who informed them that Marks-Johnson’s license to operate a daycare had been revoked. Ward County Human Service Zone was contacted for more information regarding Marks-Johnson’s license revocation, but representatives provided no comment at this time. When confronted, Marks-Johnson allegedly said she believed she could still operate her daycare as long as she cared for fewer than four children at a time.

The warrant for Marks-Johnson’s arrest was issued on Sunday for two counts of operating a daycare after license revoked, a Class B misdemeanor. The first count was for the incident on Sept. 20, with the second occurring the day of her arrest. Only a single charge is currently listed in court records, which as of publication lists the case as inactive, with no court dates scheduled for her initial appearance.


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