Just a few days shy of his second birthday, on Thursday a toddler was suffocated to death at a day care center in West Jordan, Utah, after an employee sat on him. According to the police, the toddler seems to have crawled beneath a bean bag and the employee accidentally sat on him.
The family of Leonardo Sanchez are deeply mourning the loss of the toddler who would have turned two-years-old later this month, on September 17 to be exact. The accident took place at the West Jordan Child Center on Redwood Road in West Jordan, Utah. The police confirmed the cause of death for the boy was suffocation, and Danielle Sanchez, the mother of little Leonardo, is seeking answers.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 10, 2016
When Danielle Sanchez dropped her son off at the day care center on Thursday morning, she could never have imagined that it would be the last time she saw her youngest child. ABC 17’s coverage of the little boy being suffocated revealed that the police report had it that the employee sat on the bean bag and accidentally suffocated the child during story time, while they were reading to the other children. The grieving mother says that she does not hold the employee personally responsible and is still trying to understand how the West Jordan Child Center managed to lose track of her son in the first place, or any child in their care for that matter. Danielle adamantly believes that the death of her 1-year-old underneath that bean bag could have been prevented.
“It just baffles me, makes me wonder, she must not have felt him, she must not have heard him.”
The police have expressed that they intend to review the surveillance footage from inside the day care center very soon. The employee in question is not currently facing any charges for the suffocation death of Leonardo Sanchez.
A GoFundMe page has been created on behalf of the family of the young toddler in an effort to help raise the funds needed to help the family with funeral and other expenses. The page states that Leonardo’s Mom, Dad (Dan Sanchez) and his three older siblings have been heartbroken by “the loss of their handsome, sweet baby boy.” Danielle says her little boy was always the life of the party, intent on having fun and adventure wherever he was. The Sanchez family intends to seek legal representation and possibly pursue a case against the center.
“In my mind- My child is in your care, he suffocated under a bean bag, how does a 2-year-old, not even 2 yet, how does he get stuck under a bean bag? Something happened, I don’t know what.”
Investigations into the West Jordan Child Center did reveal though that they have had more than one violation at the establishment within the past few years. Tom Hudachko, who works with the Utah Office of Children’s Licensing, said that within the last five years two violations have been cited at the day care, one for a lack of supervision of the children on their patio area, while the other violation was because they had a hole in their fence which was large enough for a child to possibly escape through. The department has begun another investigation into the facility to determine if there were any violations that led to the death of Leonardo Sanchez.
His mother said Leo would lift everyone's spirits and can't imagine how he slipped under beanbag & died at daycare. pic.twitter.com/MXkzxly1iX
— Amy Nay (@AmyNay2News) September 9, 2016
Though the day care center has declined to be interviewed in relation to the suffocation of the toddler, they did release a statement of condolences.
“We regret deeply the tragic death of a young toddler at our daycare facility. No words adequately describe the depth of the sorrow we feel. And, of course, we do not pretend to understand how devastating this is for the family. We know the family well, we grieve with them, and we pray that God will provide them the comfort and peace they inevitably will need.”
The family intends to hold Leonardo’s funeral on what would have been his second birthday. Attendees will be asked to carry a birthday present to the funeral, which they then intend to give to patients at a local children’s hospital. The funeral will be open to members of the public, but as of yet a specific time and location has not been announced.
[Image via GoFundMe]