Child Care Leaves Toddler In Cold On Christmas Eve

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O’FALLON, MO (KTVI)– A daycare left a child outside alone for hours in freezing temperatures. It happened Christmas Eve at Bright Start Academy in O’Fallon, MO.

A sign on the door says “closed until further notice.”  A report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services explains why.  The report states Bright Start Academy, on Homefield Road, left a 2-year-old outside on the playground for “up to 4 and a half hours.” It documented “wind chill” temps as low as “17.5 degrees.”

Jennifer Vance used to work there.  She told us, “I’ve never forgotten a kid outside, that’s the first thing you do is line them up and count ‘em.”

According to the State report, a camera apparently showed 16 kids coming come out, then 15 kids walking back inside.  Then in a heartbreaking description, the 2-year-old can be seen walking up to the door and standing alone, waiting for about 20 minutes, until she walks out of frame.

The video is not available because of an active investigation.  The report shows daycare workers even counted 16 kids going out and only 15 returning.  One worker reportedly dismissed it saying “she must have miscounted.”

Jennifer Vance reacted, “You can’t miscount. You have sheets, like an attendance sheet.  You know who who’s there and miscounting, that’s just being irresponsible.”

On that Christmas Eve, daycare workers reportedly told Dad his daughter was not there.  Then Dad frantically searched rooms and closets before finding his daughter outside, curled up in playground mulch.

Dad reportedly took her to the emergency room because the two-year-old struggled walking.

No one from Bright Start will talk.  When I called and identified myself, someone on the other end said “we’re not commenting.”

We featured another Bright Start location in a Fox Files investigation this past May. You can find that entire report, along with a scan of this recent State report this fox2now Web site.

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