ORLANDO, Fla. – A 3-year-old boy found dead Monday night in a van outside an Orlando day care was left in a hot vehicle for possibly up to 11 hours, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
Orlando police received a call at 8:30 p.m. in connection with a possible child neglect case at Little Miracles Academy at 900 Plymouth Ave., Sgt. Eduardo Bernal said.
A day care employee found 3-year-old Myles Hill inside the van, and he was pronounced dead a short time later, police said.
Mina said charges are pending against the day care worker who failed to perform a head count, leaving Myles in the van all day. The employee is very distraught and is cooperating with authorities, Mina said.
The boy’s family told News 6 that they dropped him off earlier in the day, and that he’s usually home by 6 p.m. When he still hadn’t returned by about 8 p.m., Myles' grandmother called police.
U.S. hot car deaths on the rise
Mina said Tuesday during a news conference that Miles was most likely in the hot van since 9 a.m. Monday. The high in Orlando Monday reached 93 degrees at 3:33 p.m. with 100 percent humidity.
If an autopsy shows Miles died as a results of being left in a hot vehicle, he would become the 32nd child this year to die that way in the U.S., and the fifth in Florida, Mina said. In 2016, 39 children died of heat stroke in the U.S. after being left in cars, according to Noheatstroke.org, which tracks hot car deaths.
The tragedy led Mina to plead with parents Tuesday, asking them to leave a shoe or a cellphone in the backseat so they don't leave their children in a hot vehicle.
"Tragedies like this can be avoided," Mina said.
Barbara Livingston, Myles' aunt, said she asked one of the day care workers where he was, and she said he was gone.
“(We) said, ‘Gone where?’ And she pointed at the van,” Livingston told News 6. "I'm numb. I don't know how to feel."
"It's wrong. How (are) you going to leave a child in a van? You work in a day care," Alice Williams said. "She done left that baby like that. That's wrong. No one called nobody. The family had to call the police."
Myles would have turned 4 on Aug. 22, Mina said.
Previous DCF citation at Little Miracles
According to a Florida Department of Children and Families inspection report last month, Little Miracles was cited for not keeping track of children being transported.
"The facility's log for children transported did not include the following required elements: [destination time, arrival time, destination location and departure location. ]. (Section 6.2, number 3) [SR]," the DCF report reads.
A sign on the day care's door says the facility is closed until further notice, but parents arrived Tuesday morning to drop off their children, saying they were not notified of the boy's death.
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