Four workers allegedly responsible for the horrific “hot car” death of a 5-year-old in their care are facing manslaughter charges, according to reports.
The boy’s body was found last Monday inside the van in the West Memphis day care’s parking lot, where he was left all day. CNN reports he had been picked up at home before 7 a.m., but police said he never got off the van.
The women charged include the van’s driver 42-year-old Felicia Ann Phillips and three other employees, Pamela Lavette Robinson, 43, Kendra Washington, 40, and 43-year-old Wanda Taylor. All were fired two days after the incident.
According to CNN, West Memphis Police Captain Joe Baker said the women avoided several steps that could have prevented the incident and called their actions “negligent, reckless and against protocol.”
Taylor checked the boy off a list used to account for all the children traveling on the van without ever seeing him, police said. As driver, Phillips’ job was to unload the children, and Robinson’s job was to assist her. Washington was responsible for checking if the van was empty after kids were unloaded, but police say she did not perform her job.
The women found the boy dead inside when they came to load children in the van to go home after 3 p.m., police said. The boy was still sitting on his booster seat and had removed his socks, shoes and shirt, Baker said.
He said the van doors were heavy and the sliding door was childproof so there was no way the boy could have opened the door to exit. When police arrived to the parking lot on Monday, the temperature was 91 degrees.
The little boy had been attending the day care center since he was one years old. He had two heart surgeries in the past and was at the facility for developmental issues.
The four women were released from custody on Friday but expected to appear in court on Monday.