Hot daycare van update: Two arrested, police searching for two more

Police are holding four people responsible for the death of a 5-year-old boy who was left neglected in a daycare van for eight hours

In light of a little boy who passed away after being left all day in a hot daycare van in West Memphis, Arkansas, on Monday, two people were arrested and police are searching for two others who they say played a part in the incident.

The Arkansas-Democrat Gazette reports that Capt. Joe Baker of the West Memphis Police said that authorities obtained warrants for four women, in connection with the death of 5-year-old Christopher Gardner, who was left in an Ascent Children’s Health Services all day. According to Baker, the boy was left in the van for eight hours. Staff workers found him at around 3 p.m. last Monday, when they started to prepare the van for the afternoon drop-off. Christopher died in the hospital the following day.

Tom Young, deputy prosecuting attorney for Crittenden County, said that Felicia Ann Phillips, 42; Pamela Lavette Robinson, 43; Wanda Taylor, 43; and Kendra Washington, 40; will all face prosecution in the child’s untimely death.

“You have four individuals whose job it was to ensure safety. They disregarded it — their duties — and as a result, that child is dead.”

Court documents indicate that Felicia Ann Phillips, drove the van, while Pamela Lavette Robinson rode in the van as a monitor, with the duty of ensuring that the children were safe. Wanda Taylor, the “transportation supervisor,” signed Christopher into the daycare as being present, even though he never actually made it into the facility. Kendra Washington was supposed to ensure that the van was empty after morning drop-off.

“What we had here was four people who directly contributed to this death,” Baker said. “If any one of these four did anything different, there’s a good chance this wouldn’t have happened.”

Washington and Robinson were arrested. They’re currently being held at the Crittenden County jail. Lawyers for both Phillips and Taylor indicated that they would turn themselves in on Monday, should authorities not catch them before then.

So far, the cause of death hasn’t been released, but authorities stated that the heat index in West Memphis on Monday was close to 100 degrees. All four workers were fired from their positions at Ascent Children’s Health Services.

Check back with Crime Online as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Family Handout]