Six-year-old dies after left in day care van for hours

According to WATN, the van was parked outside of Ascent Children's Health Services on West Tyler Cove in West Memphis, Arkansas. The young boy was found dead in a booster seat over eight hours later.

It remained unclear whether any of the employees at Ascent checked the vehicle after it arrived, or why Christopher was signed into the building when he remained on the bus.

The child was found dead at 3:30 p.m., according to the West Memphis Police Department.

The facility, Ascent Children's Health Services of West Memphis, serves children needing occupational physical therapy and special needs services. With temperatures in the 80s that day, investigators said the inside of the van would have quickly reached 141 degrees Fahrenheit.

On Monday, temperatures in West Memphis climbed to 80 degrees.

It says the van driver should complete a van checklist of the vehicle's condition each morning and afternoon before leaving the clinic.

Authorities said someone signed Christopher in as if was present and inside the daycare. "They didn't look, and they can't tell me they looked", Smith said. Christopher was in Ascent's daycare program after he had two heart surgeries as an infant.

Smith described the boy as a sweet child.

A former employee, who did not want to be identified, spoke with WMC Action News 5 about the steps the clinic takes to prevent this from happening. Records show no complaints have been filed against the day care.

By that point, it was too late; first responders couldn't resuscitate him. Hinkle said the facility had previously been "highly compliant". In its history, the facility has had three minor citations from the Arkansas Department of Human Services but none of them were for transportation-related issues.

  • Larry Hoffman