The Orlando daycare where 3-year-old Myles Hill died after being left in a 144-degree van for 11 hours was shut down by the Department of Children and Families just hours after the owner begged for forgiveness.
Audrey Thornton, who owns the Little Miracles Academy at 900 Plymouth Avenue, spoke to reporters on Wednesday about how distraught she was after receiving the phone call about Myles’s death. She also asked the community to trust her with their children again.
“I just started screaming and hollering, and crying and crying and crying," Thornton said. “Anyone who knows me as a friend, as family, providing for their kids, they know I took care of my kids, I love my kids, I give back to the community and I just want them to trust me and trust in me and that if I ever open back up this will never happen again.”
However, the DCF announced Wednesday evening that because of Myles's death, the agency decided to issue an emergency suspension order to close both Little Miracles Academy locations, reported Click Orlando.
Thornton said she hasn't yet spoken to Myles's family, but that she wants them to know she's sorry and she loved Myles, who she described as a smart and kind child.
"I’m sorry for your loss and I don’t want you all to be upset with me and I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby and if you all could forgive me," Thornton said through tears. "I’m so sorry, just give me a chance to talk to you and explain what happened.”
In addition, the driver of the van, who failed to do a head count when the children were dropped off on Monday, has been charged for Myles's death.
Deborah St. Charles, 51, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, Orlando police announced through social media on Thursday. A judge on Friday ruled that St. Charles's bond would be $30,000. If she were to be released on bond, she would not be allowed to work at a child care or day care facility or have unsupervised contact with minors.
A daycare worker at an Orlando child care facility faces criminal charges after a 3-year-old boy died from being left in a hot van for up to 11 hours.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that 3-year-old Myles Hill was left in the van that was parked outside Little Miracles Academy all day before he was discovered Monday night, reported the Associated Press. Charges for the unidentified daycare worker have not yet been specified, yet they are cooperating with police.
During the day, Myles was supposed to have been dropped off in the morning at another Little Miracles Academy center. However, for reasons that have yet to be determined, Myles was taken to the location where his body was discovered later that evening. The driver of the van "did admit to not doing a head count," Mina told AP.
Results from Myles’s autopsy are still pending, but Orlando detectives believe the cause of death will be heat related. Temperatures in Orlando climbed to 94 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday. Inside a vehicle, those temperatures are even higher.
“This is an absolute tragedy that could have been prevented,” Mina told reporters.
Myles’s family was expecting him to be dropped off around 6 p.m., but when he hadn’t returned by 8 p.m., his grandmother called the police, reported Click Orlando.
Little Miracles was in hot water last month when the Florida Department of Children and Families showed that it was found not to be in compliance with a rule that required daycare centers to have time logs of when children arrive, where they are supposed to go and what time they leave.