ORLANDO, Fla. - If an Orlando police detective broke a sweat trying to open the doors of a minivan where a toddler died in August, 3-year-old Myles Hill would not have been able to get out either, discovery made public Friday by the State's Attorney's Office shows.
Myles died Aug. 7 after being left inside a Little Miracles Academy day care van for more than 11 hours, according to Orlando police. The driver, Deborah St. Charles, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter in connection with his death.
In a five-minute video, an Orlando homicide detective went around to each Honda Odyssey door attempting to open the locks from the inside. One of the doors was so rusted that it was nearly impossible to open and the handle was missing from the outside, the detective said.
"I'm a 44-year-old male, weigh 195 pounds and I'm using great amount of force to get it open," the detective said in the video trying to unlock a door.
[Watch the OPD detective conduct the locked van test below]
Myles was found dead in a van outside Little Miracles Academy on Plymouth Avenue around 8 p.m. on Aug. 7. Police said he had likely been left in the vehicle at around 9 a.m. and temperatures inside the van would have reached up to 144 degrees.
A medical examiner ruled that Myles died of hyperthermia due to environment exposure. His death was ruled an accident.
“So essentially, with all the doors locked, if Myles, in the condition that he was exposed to, is not able to override the locks manually by lifting up, he is essentially locked inside, unable to exit,” the detective concluded after trying to open every door.
Photo evidence shows that Little Miracles Academy staff wrote down in a daily log what time the 3-year-old arrived everyday and marked him as present that Monday, but never wrote when Myles was picked up on any previous days.
The employee, who found Myles, Sandra Adkins, called 911 after finding the boy unresponsive in the Honda Odyssey minivan.
"Let me break it down for you. It’s a child left in a van," Adkins said in a recorded 911 call. "The driver that didn’t tell no body. I'm presuming that the child is dead. That’s the kind of emergency that I have (sic) right now."
Adkins told dispatch she found Myles after his great-grandmother called to say he never came home.
Parents and guardians were still picking up children from the day care when Myles was discovered outside, records show. An interaction between someone else in the parking lot was captured on the 911 call.
"He's gone," Adkins said.
"He's gone where?" an unidentified person said.
"Oh my God. Oh my God," a woman said as the realization set in. Moments later a woman is heard screaming over and over in the background on the 911 call.
Evidence photos show that Myles never even made it out of the back seat of the van where he was found. St. Charles told detectives Myles was not in a child seat and belted into the rear left seat when she picked him up the morning he died.
St. Charles said she first learned about the boy’s death was when another staff member called her asking if she picked him up that morning, three minutes later the employee called her again to say Myles was dead.
“’Deborah, Myles is dead. You need to get here right now,’” St. Charles said an employee told her.
The Department of Children and Families revoked the license for Little Miracles Academy after Myles' death.
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