Owner of day care where young child died holds news conference

Lucy Bush
August 10, 2017

A candlelight vigil was held outside the day care center Tuesday night where a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a transport van.

Police responded to a report of possible child neglect at Little Miracles Academy around 8:30 p.m. On Monday, there was a high temperature in Orlando when this incident took place, the high temperature was around 93 degrees Fahrenheit. "They are living their worst nightmare", said the chief of police of the city, John Mina.

"This is an absolute tragedy which could have been prevented", Mina said Tuesday morning.

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The driver of the van, who has not been identified by police, said she didn't realize Myles, who would have turned 4 later this month, was still in the vehicle after picking him and other children up for delivery to another daycare location. The Florida Department of Children and Families will be conducting an institutional investigation on the daycare center. "I'm numb. I don't know how to feel", she told WKMG. Instead, he was found dead Monday night and police say he had been inside the van for almost 12 hours. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash related vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger in the U.S. In the first six months of 2017, 26 children nationwide died of heatstroke after being left in a auto, and 720 children have died since 1998.

Corey Esters, Myles's grandfather, told the newspaper the daycare centre's owners, Audrey and Bryant Thornton, had not reached out to them, which he said was upsetting because he has known Audrey for many years.

"Nobody else should have to go through what I'm going through", Banks said.

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According to the Police Chief, Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is investigating the Little Miracles Academy.

So to hear that a child was accidentally left in a van; where the temperatures rise to unspeakably hot levels, within a short period of time, hurts beyond compare. Local news media reported that the facility was closed. Barbara Livingston, Myles' great aunt, is adamant that the owners of Little Miracles Academy face criminal charges for their neglect. The rule requires day care centers to maintain logs of the time children arrive, where they were supposed to be transported and what time they departed.

"He was always doing something", she said.

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