PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – Two toddlers were left in a hot car by two daycare workers — one of them has died, the other remains in critical condition. Investigators believe the children were left in the car for about an hour-and-a-half before the daycare workers realized they were inside.
Those two workers, a mother and a daughter, have been arrested on child abuse charges.
It happened at the home daycare “Taylor’s Tots” when it was about 94 degrees outside. According to the criminal complaint, the daycare workers simply forgot about the kids.
“A little after 3 p.m. in the afternoon, Portales Communications received a 911 call,” explained Lieutenant Chris Williams with the Portales Police Department.
That caller Sandi Taylor said two children were having seizures at Taylor’s Tots daycare. She said the kids, 1-year-old and 2-year-old girls, were unresponsive.
“We transported the children to Roosevelt General Hospital where one was later transported to a Lubbock area hospital and the other was later deceased at the hospital,” Williams said.
The people in charge of their care — mother and daughter Sandi Taylor, 31, and Mary Taylor, 67 — are now charged with child abuse resulting in death and child abuse resulting in great bodily harm.
They tell investigators Sandi took 12 children to the park for lunch. When she returned, she went inside and put the children down for a nap. But it wasn’t until nearly two hours later that she went to her car to retrieve something and found the two toddlers still inside, the younger one slumped over.
Neighbors are shocked.
“We were all kind of speechless this morning and tearing up at work and it’s just something that shouldn’t happen,” said Alexandra Nichols, a neighbor.
When asked about her experience with the daycare, she said, “I considered putting them in daycare across the street and after we saw (Mary and Sandi) outside with the kids, there was a bit of distraction on their part so we decided against it.”
“There should be checks there should be ratios and it frustrates me because I used to work with kids and we always had a four-to-one ratio and we always made sure that all of the kids were accounted for,” Nichols said.
The last report was that the 2-year-old, identified as Aubrianna Loya, remains in critical condition. The 1-year-old who died was Maliyah Jones.
Police say they didn’t take a temperature reading inside the car but the CDC reports that car temperatures in 90 degree heat can easily top 130 degrees.
The daycare is now closed and without a license. KRQE News 13 reached out to CYFD who said Taylor’s Tots childcare licence has been revoked.
CYFD also released the following statement:
This is a heartbreaking tragedy and our hearts go out to the families of these children. There’s no excuse for leaving children unattended in hot cars. The providers have both been arrested and we are working closely with law enforcement on this case.