UPDATE: Daycare driver charged after child left in van overnight

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Precious Jewels Daycare

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Lexington police say a woman who left a 3-year-old boy in a daycare van overnight earlier this month has been charged with wanton endangerment.

Officers say a criminal complaint was served Wednesday on 23-year-old Dorothay Gateskill.

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Back on August 4th, officers say they went to an apartment on Winburn Drive after receiving a call from a Lexington mother reporting that her 3-year-old son was missing and had not been dropped off by the daycare he attended. The child was eventually located at around 2:00 a.m. in a van at Precious Jewels daycare on Augusta Drive.

Police say the boy had been left in the van by Gateskill, the daycare van driver, since approximately 4:30 p.m. the previous afternoon. The child was suffering from dehydration but was otherwise uninjured.

Investigators say that interviews with daycare staff and the victim’s family revealed that Gateskill did not check the van at the end of her shift to make sure all the children were dropped off.


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The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services suspended services at the daycare following the incident.

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8/5/16 3:47 p.m.

Kentucky officials have ordered the immediate suspension of services at a daycare center where a 3-year-old boy was left alone in a van for more than nine hours.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued the suspension on Friday for the Precious Jewels School of Excellence. The agency cited the day care’s “failure to protect the health, safety and welfare of children.”

A woman who answered the phone at the daycare center refused to put the owner on the line, declined to comment and hung up.

Lexington Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said the boy was in the van from 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to about 2 a.m. Thursday, when he was found still in his car seat in the van in the center’s parking lot. He was not injured.

Cabinet records show it has investigated 23 complaints against the facility in the past four years.

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8/4/16 4:35 p.m.

A 3-year-old boy, forgotten by his daycare center’s driver, was left strapped in his car seat alone in a van in a parking lot for more than nine hours overnight.

Lexington Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said the child was not in distress when he was found about 2 a.m. Thursday. Paramedics examined him and released him to his family.

The police department is investigating the 23-year-old woman who was driving the van, she said. No charges have been filed.

The child’s mother called police to her apartment when she arrived home from work about midnight Wednesday to say her son was not dropped off from his day care, Precious Jewels School of Excellence.

She said the day care center is supposed to bring the child home about 5 p.m. and his 16-year-old sister was at the apartment waiting for him, Angel said.

The mother’s employer does not allow her to have a phone while at work, and her daughter had no way to contact her to let her know the child never arrived home, Angel said. The family is not under investigation.

The day care center had closed hours earlier, at 6 p.m.

Police officers reached the owners of the day care, who went to the center and found the boy still strapped into his car seat in the van parked in the lot outside.

Angel said he is believed to have been in the van from about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to 2 a.m. Thursday.

The National Weather Service reports that the temperature in Lexington was 84 degrees at 4:30 p.m. It cooled down overnight to about 72 degrees at 2 a.m.

“I don’t think he was crying when the day care owner got him out of the van,” Angel said. “It’s very fortunate that the child was found safely.”

A woman who answered the phone at the day care center Friday declined to comment.

Angel said a detective in the police department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed in the Lexington case.

Beth Fischer, a Cabinet spokeswoman, said the agency also has opened an investigation into the day care center.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.