A 4-month-old baby girl passed away in tragic circumstances after being left strapped in her daycare’s van for nearly five hours by accident. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office released a statement on their Facebook page confirming the Darryl Ewing, driver and co-owner of the daycare’s van was “booked into jail for child neglect”, reported People.
Having left the baby unattended in the van outside in the sun, the baby is believed to have suffered a “heat-related injury” given that Jacksonville temperatures touched 92 degrees on Wednesday, said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Brian Kee said at a news conference.
The baby was picked up by Darryl Ewing, 56, of the Florida daycare, Love and Hope, and brought to the facility at 8.25 am after which the children were offloaded by the co-owner who drove the van and taken to the daycare center’s building. No other employees were in the van or present as Ewing offloaded the kids.
Darryl Ewing parked the van in front of the daycare and left the baby strapped into the third row of the van unattended till afternoon with the van parked in the sun. Daycare employees realized the baby was missing only after her mother called to make pick up arrangements at around 1:03 p.m, according to police. Employees realized she hadn’t been checked in by Ewing and rushed to the van to find the 4-month old baby strapped in and unresponsive. They proceeded to call emergency services.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office statement said the baby was pronounced dead on arrival: Police and rescue personnel arrived and found the victim inside the daycare unresponsive. The victim was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.
A preliminary investigation revealed that Ewing was supposed to maintain a separate log of all children placed in the van. The log showed records of the victim’s two siblings but not of the victim herself. In all likeliness, the driver must have copied the log that was maintained at the time of checking in, onto his own log and thereby missing out on entering the name of the 4-year-old baby girl. “This log is separate from the parental log signed by parents. Detectives viewed the driver’s log, which showed the suspect had logged in two of the victim’s siblings but not the victim,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement authorities interviewed other daycare center employees who claimed that it was the van driver’s responsibility to check and make sure children are offloaded from the van at the daycare center.
“It was determined, the suspect’s actions (and lack thereof) failed to provide the victim with the necessary supervision and provide services to protect the victim’s physical health, all which was essential to the victim’s well-being and contributed to the death of the victim,” claimed the police. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the suspect was transported to the police station to be interviewed but the suspect refused to talk with detectives.
The Department of Children and Families in Duvall County issued a statement confirming they had initiated the process to issue an emergency suspension order to cease operations at the Jacksonville daycare facility, reported ABC News.