5-year-old boy dies after collapsing at Leesburg day care, police say

Child's cause of death unknown

LEESBURG, Fla. – A 5-year-old boy died Friday afternoon after he collapsed at a Lake County day care, according to the Leesburg Police Department.

The boy's mother, Lashon Robinson, told police that she went to Kids of Distinction at 5 p.m. Friday to pick up her two children. When she arrived, the day care director stopped her and asked if her 5-year-old son Zion James had any medical conditions or a history of seizures, which he does not, the report said.

"I came to the day care as a normal day. I was walking in, I rang the doorbell. The doorbell is answered. I walk in, OK. My son is in the first classroom on the right when you get in there but you know as I'm walking in, the director tells me my son is on the ground," Robinson said. 

Robinson said she ran into the classroom and found her son on his back with a wet cloth on his forehead.

She said she began screaming for someone to call 911 as she sat with her son and put his head in her lap. When she realized no one was calling 911, the mother pulled out her cellphone and called police herself, the report said.

"I'm trying to see what's going on with my son, so I ask, 'Somebody please call 911,' but I see a business-like phone on top of the cubby, but nobody grabbed it. Nobody responded to me asking someone to call 911," Robinson said. 

Pastor John Christian, who works for the church affiliated with the day care, told News 6 that the mother came to pick up the boy about 12 seconds after he collapsed. He said the director of the day care could not find the phone to call 911 and that's why the mother made the call.

He described the incident as a "medical episode."

"It's all on video. The investigators have the video. So, what staff reported in the report is actually backed up on camera," Christian said.

Leesburg police arrived at the hospital at 5:40 p.m. Doctors said the boy arrived at Leesburg Regional Medical Center in cardiac arrest and it was not known what happened to him.

"It's unfortunate. It's tragic. Not just for the family, but also for our staff who love and care for kids on a daily basis," Christian said.

A portion of the incident report that details how the child was taken to the hospital is redacted, although the report does mention that the Leesburg Fire Department and Lake EMS were involved in the case.

The investigation has been turned over to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Christian said no foul play is suspected and the day care is cooperating fully.

"We have grief counselors coming in talking to the kids, trying to make sure the kids understand, you know, tragedies happen," he said.

Robinson told News 6 she wants people to remember Zion as a child who was full of life. 

"My baby was always smiling. He loved cars. He was a people person," Robinson said. 

A fund has been set up to help with funeral expenses. 

Donations are being accepted at any BB&T bank under the account, "In Loving Memory of Zion". 

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