Driver Arrested After 3-Year-Old Fla. Boy Was Left Locked in Van on the Way to Day Care and Died

The driver of a child care center’s minivan has been arrested after she allegedly forgot to conduct a headcount and left a 3-year-old boy in the hot van for nearly 12 hours, where he died, PEOPLE confirms.

Deborah Denise St. Charles, 51, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the Monday death of Myles Hill outside at a center in Orlando, Florida, jail records show.

Myles had been picked up from his grandmother’s home that morning to be dropped off by St. Charles at Little Miracles Academy with six other children.

However, when the other children were let out, Myles, who was sitting in the backseat, was left behind, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

When St. Charles drove the van to a second Little Miracles location, she allegedly forgot to check the vehicle for children.

After his body was discovered, St. Charles allegedly told police that she had not taken a headcount to make sure all six children had exited the vehicle, the Sentinel reports. On attendance logs from Monday, Myles was marked present despite being locked inside the van.

According to a police report obtained by the Sentinel, St. Charles was on the phone while she locked up the vehicle, which later reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees. The Orange County Medical Examiner declared Myles’ death as an accident as the result of hyperthermia, or heat stroke.

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According to the state’s Department of Children and Families, the child care center had been cited in the past for not keeping proper records of children’s attendance, specifically while being picked up from home and dropped off at daycare.

In July, St. Charles failed to pass transportation standards, the Sentinel reports. She was not an approved driver for the center.

On Wednesday, Audrey Thornton, the center’s owner, issued a public apology and asked for forgiveness.

“I want to apologize to Myles,” Thornton said through tears. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for your loss and I don’t want you all to be upset at me. I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby.”

Speaking to local TV station WFTV, Myles’ aunt, Chiquerria Banks, said she wanted justice for the boy.

“I want everybody to pay for their actions. Everybody that was here has something to do with something because you were here,” Banks told the outlet as she sat outside the school. “Just imagine a 3-year-old child in a van, windows up, no water, nothing. That’s suffering.”

It is unclear whether St. Charles has entered a plea or has obtained an attorney. She remains behind bars on a $30,000 bond, jail records state.

The Orange/Osceola County State Attorney’s Office and Orlando Police Department could not be reached for comment. Thornton and her attorney did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.

GoFundMe page has been set up to help Myles’ family pay for funeral expenses.

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/daycare-driver-arrested-florida-boy-dies-hot-van/

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