ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida day care driver was charged Thursday in the death of a 3-year-old boy who authorities say was left in a van for nearly 12 hours.
Deborah Denise St. Charles, 51, was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, Orlando police announced on social media. The Florida Department of Children and Families also announced that it is revoking the day care center’s operating license and fining it $2,750.
St. Charles picked up Myles Hill at his home Monday morning. She was supposed to take him and five other children to Little Miracles Academy II in Orlando. After dropping off the children, St. Charles drove the van to another Little Miracles location and left it there.
Myles was found dead Monday night after spending the entire day in the summer heat. A medical examiner has called the death an accident, listing its cause as hyperthermia as a result of environmental exposure.
The DCF report lists multiple violations committed by St. Charles and other staff members. St. Charles reportedly failed to conduct a sweep of the van after dropping off the children, and day care staff failed to perform a secondary sweep.
St. Charles told police that she assumed all the children had already entered the facility, but admitted to not doing a headcount. According to the warrant, St. Charles turned over the payment for Myles’ child care, left the facility and drove back to the original location.
When St. Charles arrived at the original location, she told police she received a phone call, opened a sliding door on the driver’s side and grabbed some personal property from the floor of the van. She then closed and locked the van “without inspecting the interior,” the warrant said.
The report says too many children were riding in the van, and an 11-year-old was sitting in the front passenger seat, a violation of Florida rules. Myles was marked present Monday when he wasn’t actually in class.
Myles was located around 8:30 that night, after Myles’ grandmother, Brenda Watts, called the facility because Myles hadn’t been brought home from day care, according to the warrant.
The high temperature in Orlando was around 93 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, according to Weather Underground.
The temperature inside the van reached as high as 144 degrees Fahrenheit by 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon, according to a simulation conducted by Orlando Police Crime Scene Investigators.
Audrey Thornton, the owner of the two Little Miracles locations, apologized to Myles’ family during a news conference at her attorney’s office Wednesday.
St. Charles was being held on $30,000 bail. Jail records didn’t list an attorney.