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Leesburg day care under investigation after mother says toddler left alone inside

Manager was ‘distracted and stressed out’ about getting to son’s basketball game, report says

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LEESBURG, Fla. – Leesburg police are investigating a report of child abandonment after a mother says her 3-year-old son was left by himself at the Lake County day care.

Officers responded to Gwendolyn’s Child and Learning Center Jan. 30 around 5:30 p.m. where the upset mother was outside waiting.

The woman told officers that when she arrived at the day care at 5:10 p.m. it was locked, the lights were off and the parking lot was empty, according to the report. She said she was confused because her 3-year-old son was supposed to be inside and she wasn’t notified otherwise.

The woman knocked on doors and windows for 15 minutes, trying to see if someone was inside before calling the police. While she was speaking with dispatch, her son opened the door to the daycare hysterical and crying, according to the report. When the mother asked her child what happened he said he saw the manager leave him behind, she told the police.

As the mother continued to recount the incident to officers, the manager returned to the daycare nearly an hour after she had left, according to the report.

The manager told officers she had conducted her daily cleaning routine and left the daycare at 5:12 p.m. believing that all the children had been picked up.

She explained to officers that she did see the child sleeping between two bookcases but said since he was extremely quiet and well-behaved, she forgot he was inside. Police said she did admit she was distracted and stressed as she was trying to make sure her son would not be late to his basketball game.

Officers described the day care facility as a clean and safe environment for children. The Leesburg Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division is taking over the case.


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