Florida orders Orlando daycare centers
shut after boy dies in van
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[August 10, 2017]
By Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) - A Florida state regulator on
Wednesday ordered the closure of two Orlando daycare centers two days
after the death of a three-year-old boy who was left for hours by an
employee in a van on a hot day.
If an autopsy confirms that Myles Hill perished from being left in the
vehicle, his will be the 32nd such death for U.S. children in 2017 and
the fifth in Florida, Orlando police have said. On Monday, Orlando
temperatures hit 93 Fahrenheit (34 Celsius).
No charges have been filed against the unidentified female driver of the
van, which is owned by the daycare provider Little Miracles Academy,
Orlando police said on Wednesday. Police said the investigation was
"This facility was previously cited for not keeping proper paperwork,
(and) based on the tragic circumstances of this case, both facilities
have now been shut down," Mike Carroll, head of the Florida Department
of Children and Families, said in a statement.
No child will be cared for at either center until the state determines
they are safe, Carroll said.
The van driver has been fired, Little Miracles owner Audrey Thornton
said at a press conference earlier on Wednesday. She declined to
identify the woman, as have the police.
Thornton, who vowed she would fight to keep her daycare company open,
said she had been friends for years with the family of the child who
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"I'm just devastated," said Thornton, who wore dark sunglasses and
cried as she spoke with reporters at the office of her attorney,
"I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby. And if
y'all can forgive me," Thornton said. "I'm so sorry."
Nesmith did not immediately return a phone call after the state
order came on Wednesday evening.
Police have said they believed Hill was left in the van for most of
the daylight hours on Monday.
On Tuesday, Carroll said one of the two Little Miracles Academy
centers had been issued five licensing violations in the past two
years, according to the department.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Richard Chang)
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