The director of a Florida day care center has been arrested after allegedly leaving an infant girl in a hot van for five hours, causing her to die of heatstroke, New York’s WABC-TV reports.
At 1:08 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Jacksonville County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool and Academy in Jacksonville. A worker at the day care center made the horrifying discovery after the infant’s mother called to make pickup arrangements. The worker noticed that the girl had never been checked back into the facility; when he or she went to the center’s van, she found the baby inside, unresponsive.
She is believed to have been in the van for five hours, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. The high temperature in Jacksonville on Wednesday was 92 degrees.
The 4-month-old girl later died after suffering a “heat-related injury,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Investigators interviewed workers at the day care to try to determine what went wrong. According to established procedures at the day care, all children are signed into and out of the building, as well as into and out of the van, on a log.
Ewing, however, appears to have violated proper procedures and that led to the little girl’s death, according to a statement.
HEARTBREAKING: A baby has died after being left in a van for five hours at a daycare in the Jacksonville area.https://t.co/FBMDMDxp8k
— WTXL ABC 27 (@abc27) May 22, 2019
“The suspect… was the sole driver of the van the entire time. No other employees were on the transport van during the transit to the center. The suspect parked the van in front of the daycare and left the vehicle unattended with the victim still strapped in her car seat in the third row of the van.”
What’s more, Ewing had logged in the girl’s two siblings, but not the girl.
He has since been arrested and charged with child neglect.
Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell said via NBC News that someone in his agency had to explain to a parent that her child had died.
“Tragically, today a family has just been notified of the gut-wrenching loss of their precious baby girl,” he wrote.
Every summer, stories hit the news every few days of children who died or suffered severe injuries from being left in hot cars, and 2019 has proved to not be an exception, even though summer hasn’t even officially begun. Just days ago, for example, as ABC News reported, a child died in Indianapolis after having been left in a hot car for several hours.