Broward County

Mother Finds Child Left Behind in Locked Plantation Daycare Center

KinderCare issued a statement saying while they were thankful the child was quickly found, the incident should have never happened

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Several agencies are investigating after a mother came to pick up her child from a Plantation daycare only to find that the building was locked and the toddler was left inside, alone.

Plantation police officers responded to the KinderCare Learning Center, located at 10790 West Sunrise Boulevard, just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday after the child's mother went to the daycare to pick up her 2-year-old daughter only to find out the building was locked and the lights were off.

The woman called 911 as she saw her child through the front door window in a pitch-black room, realizing she was locked inside, officials said. She filmed the toddler with her cellphone from the outside of the building as she talked to an operator.

"This poor kid," the woman is heard saying in the video while sobbing. "I'm coming, OK?"

The Plantation Fire Department was able to pry the building's doors open to let the child out, according to an incident report. The girl was checked out by paramedics and did not need any medical treatment.

"She's super traumatized," the mother, Stephanie Martinez, told NBC 6 over the phone. "It's not fair."

KinderCare closes for the day at 6 p.m. but usually stays open for parents who regularly pick up their children late.

The assistant director of the daycare came to the location after the incident and told police she and another teacher were the last two employees on the premises. Both left at around 6:20 p.m. and the mother arrived around eight minutes later to pick up her child, the incident report said.

The mother told police she did not receive a call from the daycare to pick up her kid.

It's still unclear what exactly led up to the incident. The employees told police they use a tablet to check out all of the children.

KinderCare issued a statement saying while they were thankful the child was quickly found, the incident should have never happened.

"We take all concerns about children’s safety seriously and follow a specific protocol anytime an issue is raised. Part of that protocol includes notifying our agency partners, like state licensing and Child Protective Services, as we did in this case," the statement read in part. "We also placed the staff members involved on administrative leave while we, and our agency partners, look into the concern further."

The child's aunt, Samantha Scaramellino, posted about the incident on Facebook and said the mother called her after she discovered the building was closed and asked her if she had picked up the child.

"After a call to the police I told her to walk around the building banging on all the windows and after a while, in the pitch black room she sees her face emerge," Scaramellino wrote.

Martinez said her daughter, Anastasia, was able to push a chair next to the window and stand up to get her attention.

"It's the worst feeling ever. You feel helpless," Martinez said. "You can't do anything to console her. She was stressed out and definitely crying the whole time she was there by herself."

The Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protection Services and Plantation Police are investigating the incident.

"Nobody should ever go through this," Martinez said. "You pay for trust and they completely voided that. I have no words, I'm still in shock right now."

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