Daycare co-owner arrested after 4-month-old left in hot van for hours dies, Florida police say

Darryl Ewing, 56, charged with child neglect

Darryl Ewing, 56, was arrested on child neglect charges after a 4-month-old girl was found unresponsive in a transportation van for the daycare center he operated. (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

The co-owner of a Florida daycare was arrested after a 4-month-old baby who was found unconscious in a hot van Wednesday died, police said.

Darryl Ewing, 56, is facing charges of child neglect, according to jail records.

Police said the girl was found about 1 p.m. inside a van used to pick up children and bring them to Ewing's Love and Hope Preschool. The child was reportedly left in the vehicle for five hours while it was parked in front of the daycare center.

According to reports, temperatures in Jacksonville on Wednesday reached 92 degrees.

Investigators said Ewing was the driver and only employee present on the van that picked up the 4-month-old along with other children Wednesday morning. When the van arrived at the center about 8:25 a.m., all children were offloaded except for the baby girl, according to police.

Daycare employees didn't discover that the infant wasn't checked in until the child's mother called to make after-school arrangements, investigators said. That's when employees went to the van and discovered the child unresponsive, still strapped into her seat in the third row of the vehicle.

Firefighters were called to the scene and attempted to revive the baby before she was taken to a children's hospital and pronounced dead, officials said.

Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office learned that as the driver of the van, Ewing was responsible for maintaining a log documenting all children placed on board. The log from Wednesday morning revealed that two of the infant's siblings were accounted for, but not the infant. 

"It was determined the suspect’s actions (and lack thereof) failed to provide the victim with the necessary supervision and provide services to protect the victim’s physical health, all which was essential to the victim’s well-being and contributed to the death of the victim," the Sheriff's Office said in a news release to WJXT.

Officials said the daycare's license would be immediately suspended.

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) told WTLV that the daycare "did not notify DCF that they were transporting children. Therefore, transportation standards were not being monitored." 

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Brian Newlin

Brian is an Associate Producer for ClickOnDetroit. He graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Journalism and Screen Studies.