WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (localmemphis.com) - Four woman have been charged with manslaughter in the death of a 5-year-old in a hot daycare van in West Memphis.
Charged in the case are these four women who worked at Ascent Child Care, and have since been fired:
- Felicia Phillips, the van driver
- Pamela Robinson, adult rider in the van, helps driver
- Wanda Taylor, transportation supervisor, was checking children in as they came into class. Gardner was signed in even though he never made it inside.
- Kendra Washington, designated safety inspector - goes behind others to make sure children are off the van
Police say the women came forward and told them what happened, and were "forthcoming" with information.
Jr Christopher Gardner, . died Monday after being left in the Ascent Child Care van for hours. According to the West Memphis police report, daycare workers picked up Gardner at 6:23 a.m. Monday. After that, the driver made several runs back and forth to the daycare with other children. The report says the van was checked for children and no one was on the bus, so the driver clocked out. Around 3:30 p.m., the driver came back to work, and when she went to start the van she noticed Gardner.
Gardner's official cause of death is listed as hyperthermia - when the body temperature rises far above normal.
“There were at least four people that could have followed their own policy, and this child would be alive,” said West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes Thursday. “From my stand point, I see it as clearly as you do. At least 4 people had a life in their hand and failed.” Investigators say the safety alarm was working, but that it wasn't used as designed in the van in question.
Police say the four women are due in court Monday. Police say one of the women has turned herself in. They are looking for the other three.
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