Police have officially arrested the Florida day care driver accused of leaving a 3-year-old boy in a hot van to die, according to Orlando Weekly.
The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Deborah St. Charles, 51, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child following the death of Myles Hill. Orlando police allege that she transported five children to Little Miracles Academy on Monday but failed to perform a head count, resulting in her forgetting the 3-year-old.
As Crime Online previously reported, authorities suspected that Hill was left in the van for 12 hours on a day when temperatures topped the low 90s. However, police later revealed that temperatures inside the van could’ve reached 140 degrees. The toddler’s body was found at around 8 p.m. after the boy’s grandmother reported him missing.
Police told WFTV that St. Charles exited the 2000 Honda Odyssey twice on the morning in question. On her second time exiting the vehicle, however, investigators said she answered a phone call while removing her possessions from the automobile—neglecting to check the van’s interior.
— Cuthbert Langley (@CLangleyWFTV) August 9, 2017
Hill’s official cause of death was hyperthermia due to environmental exposure.
According to NoHeatStroke.org, Hill is the fifth kid to die in Florida—and the 32nd in the nation—to die in a hot car this year.
The child care center’s owner, Audrey Thornton, recalled her reaction upon getting the call that Hill was missing.
“I just started screaming and hollering, and crying and crying and crying,” a tearful Thornton told reporters Wednesday, according to WKMG.
Thornton went on to ask the late boy’s family for forgiveness.
“I’m sorry for your loss and I don’t want you all to be upset with me and I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby and if you all could forgive me,” she said. “I’m so sorry just give me a chance to talk to you and explain what happened.”
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) announced that they have closed both Little Miracles Academy locations amid their investigation into Hill’s death.
“We are conducting a thorough investigation and are assisting law enforcement with their criminal investigation. This facility was previously cited for not keeping proper paperwork, based on the tragic circumstances of this case, both facilities have now been shut down,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The representative later revealed that St. Charles was “not approved as a driver on the facility’s roster.”
On Friday, a judge ruled that St. Charles’ bond stay at $30,000. If released, she is barred from working at any day care facility.
[Featured Image: Orlando Police Department/WFTV]