5-year-old dies after being left in day care van for 8 hours

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark.– An Arkansas family is mourning the loss of a child after daycare workers left him in a school van for 8 hours.

“They didn’t get off their…excuse my language… didn’t get off their a** and look. I’m very upset about it,” great grandmother Carrie Smith said.

Five-year-old Christopher Gardner Jr. was picked up from home at 6:30 a.m. Monday and was found 8 hours later still strapped in his booster seat.

Ascent Children’s Health Services day care records indicate that Gardner was signed into the school at 7:20 a.m. Ascent is described as a school for children with developmental and behavioral issues.

Gardner had been attending Ascent since he was 1 years old and a former employee said it was common practice to check the vans three times after the children were taken off.

“You can see and my great grand-baby suffered in that van. That wasn’t right,” said Smith.

Gardner managed to survive two heart surgeries in his young life, but the defenseless boy didn’t stand a chance inside a locked vehicle during the Arkansas summer.

“There’s no excuse. Somebody gonna be punished. Justice got to be done,” said Smith.

West Memphis police and the Department of Human Services are investigating his death and the facility. Investigators now want to know how protocol failed so badly. Further investigation could lead to multiple people being charged.

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