A 5-year-old child is dead and four Arkansas day care workers have been fired over an Ascent Children’s Health Services policy breach.
The 5-year-old boy as left inside a hot van all day after the West Memphis area day care center child transport vehicle picked him up around 6:30 in the morning. Local police officials believe the little boy may have fallen asleep inside the Ascent Children’s Health Services van on the way to the center.
Dan Sullivan, the CEO of the day care services center, deemed the death of the 5-year-old boy a “tragedy” which should never have occurred, and would not have occurred if day care staffers had followed protocol.
“There are simply no words to express the overwhelming sadness we feel at the death of this child. We are heartbroken and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Sullivan also said. “Ascent will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities and state agencies as they investigate this tragic incident.”
The unidentified child was not discovered until 3 p.m. in the afternoon when Ascent Child Health Services day care center workers were in the process of loading up the children to go home. The little boy was still strapped in his booster seat when he was found unresponsive, KTLA reports.
#RIP Christopher Gardner Jr.
— The Root (@TheRoot) June 13, 2017
The van sat just outside child care center in the facility parking lot all day long. West Memphis law enforcement officials said outside temperatures hit 91 degrees on Monday afternoon. The temperature inside the van, if the windows were rolled up, was substantially higher.
There were two Ascent Child Health Services staffers on board the bus at the time the little boy was picked up and transported to school. West Memphis police investigators are still not sure how the adults completely missed the child when assisting other day care center children exit the van.
Retweeted WGN TV News (@WGNNews):
5-year-old Arkansas boy dies after being left in day care van for over 8 hours… https://t.co/oRptIudEVY
— wilkins (@Taidon) June 15, 2017
The Arkansas Department of Human Services is also investigating the death of the 5-year-old boy. The government agency regulates day care centers in the state. The case has been forwarded to the Crittenden County District Attorney for the possible filing of charges against multiple Arkansas day care center employees, WREG reports.
The Ascent Child Health Services CEO has spoken the grieving parents of the little boy. Sullivan reportedly expressed his “deepest sympathy” and offered to help with the child’s funeral expenses.
[Featured Image by Sharomka/Shutterstock]