PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been more than two years since two daycare workers killed a baby by leaving her in a hot car. Now, the child’s mother is saying the state has some responsibility in her death.
“To go to family gatherings and stuff, it’s hard to go and see all the other kids and like, notice that she’s missing,” says Erika Tafoya.
Erika Tafoya’s daughter, Maliyah Jones, was killed back in July 2017 when she was left in a hot car for nearly three hours.
Sandi and Mary Taylor, who operated Taylor Lots Daycare, had taken a group of kids to the park that day. When they returned to the daycare, they forgot two children in the car.
When the women came back to the car, they realized Maliyah and 2-year old Aubriauna Loya, were inside. Aubriauna survived, but Maliyah didn’t.
“Two years seems like a long time, but I’m still stuck in that time,” says Tafoya.
Now, Tafoya has filed a lawsuit against the daycare, the state’s Human Services Department, and New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. She says the state failed to make sure policies were being followed at the daycare.
“Follow all the rules that you have because there’s rules for a reason. Little things like headcounts make a huge difference,” she says.
Tafoya says this lawsuit is also a voice for Aubriauna who has spent the last two years recovering from the incident.
Both women were convicted of child abuse, and back in March, a judge sentenced Mary Taylor to 36-years and Sandi Taylor to 30-years.
“I hope they remember her every day because they did forget her that day. Not another day of their life will they ever forget her,” says Tafoya.
Tafoya says Aubriauna is now 4-years old. She still struggles with some motor skills but has made a remarkable recovery.
Both the Human Services Department and CYFD would not comment on the lawsuit.