A Houston family is mourning the death of a 3-year-old boy whose lifeless body was found inside a hot day care van last week.
Raymond Pryer was on a field trip with 28 other students at the Discovery Me Academy on Thursday and returned with the group around 2:30 p.m., local station ABC 13 reported. Day care workers said Pryer was accounted for at the time.
When the boy’s father came to pick him up, however, the child was nowhere to be found. After a frantic search, he and day care workers discovered Raymond had been left in the hot van hours. Authorities said young Raymond was found unresponsive inside the van around 7 p.m. when his father came to pick him up. Temperatures inside reached 113 degrees, they said.
“The next thing I know, a few hours later the dad and the owner came out and was crying,” witness Kenneth Brooks told the station. “When EMS had him, he was just limp, you know. Right there, I knew the kid was gone. It’s a sad day.”
The 3-year-old was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, Houston police said.
The day care’s bus driver and a chaperone were detained and questioned by police. An investigation is now underway into what’s being called a “tragic oversight.”
“It seems to me this was just gross negligence,” said Constable Alan Rosen, who promised to get the family “all the answers” about how the “completely avoidable” tragedy occurred.
“I can’t fathom being a father and losing a child like this, and so our prayers and thoughts are with this family,” Rosen told reporters.
According to documents obtained by ABC 13, the day care was cited for several violations in 2015, including one for its failure to have an electronic child safety alarm on its buses. The arm is located at the back of the bus is used to notify the driver a child is still onboard.
The day care has been shuttered until further notice. Now, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is working to decide whether to file criminal charges.
A friend of the grieving family has since launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist with Raymond’s funeral expenses. So far, the page has collected over $12,000 in donations.
The family is asking for privacy at this time.