Utah resident Danielle Sanchez was a week away from celebrating her son’s second birthday, but now, instead of planning a party, she’s preparing for his funeral.
Little Leonardo Sanchez was killed this past Thursday, September 8, when, as noted by FOX-13 in Salt Lake City, he was literally crushed by the weight of a daycare worker who was supposed to be looking after him. According to the shocking report, the playful 1-year-old managed to somehow crawl underneath a bean bag chair without being noticed before an unnamed employee of the West Jordan Child Center sat on it to read the other children a story. He would ultimately suffocate before being discovered by employees later that day.
“It just baffles me [and] makes me wonder [how] she must not have felt him,” Sanchez relayed to FOX-13. “How [could she] not [of] have heard him?”
Video from the facility was said by the Salt Lake Tribune to show Leonardo playing with, then crawling under the chair around 12 noon that Thursday. After about 15 minutes, staff members discovered his lifeless body and began performing CPR while waiting for emergency officials to arrive. After being rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital, he was pronounced dead. Understandably, his mother and father want answers.
“In my mind, my child is in your care [and] he suffocated under a bean bag,” Danielle emotionally expressed to FOX-13. “How does a 2-year-old — not even 2 yet — how does he get stuck under a bean bag? Something [else must have] happened, I [just] don’t know what.”
The West Jordan Child Center has received several negative mark-ups in the past from the Utah Office of Children’s Licensing for, among other things, failing to supervise children near their patio area, and a hole in a nearby fence where kids could escape or even worse, be targeted by potential kidnappers. Spokespeople for the center refused to comment on those past instances or share their side of the story on camera, but they did release a statement regarding the untimely passing of Leonardo.
“We regret deeply the tragic death of a young toddler at our daycare facility,” it reads.
“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.”
Although Danielle says she isn’t personally upset with the employee who sat on her son, she is currently debating whether or not to seek legal counsel against the center for their neglectful actions. Regardless of what she chooses to do from that standpoint, all she has left are memories of the little boy whom she says was born to be the “life of the party.”
“He was a cute bundle of joy, he brought a lot of love,” she wistfully expressed. “Just always wanting to have a good time. He would take one little thing and turn it into an adventure.”
In his memory and in honor of what would have been his second birthday, the Sanchez family are asking those who come to Leonardo’s funeral to bring a present that will, in turn, be given to sick children at nearby hospitals. The location of the funeral proceedings have yet to be announced, but it is said that the public will be able to pay respects. It is said to be taking place on September 17 — Leonardo Sanchez’s birthday. A GoFundMe account that has been set up for his relatives is, as of this posting, halfway near to its $10,000 goal.
At this time, law officials have not yet charged the employee who had a direct hand in Leonardo’s death.
[Image via iStock by Getty Images]