FARMINGTON, Mo. – Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said his department opened an investigation into First Steps Daycare after a 3-year-old was allegedly left outside during freezing temperatures.
Matthew Bishop said his daughter, Avery Bishop, has attended First Steps Daycare since she was an infant. On Friday, another parent said she arrived at the daycare around 4:30 p.m. to pick up her child and heard a child faintly crying in the distance. The parent went inside, picked up her child, and still heard the crying when she was getting back in the car. After driving a few feet away from the daycare, she spotted 3-year-old Avery in her side mirror, crying at the side door of the daycare. The parent reportedly went back inside the daycare and alerted the daycare workers that Avery was outside.
“My child stuck outside in the snow, no jacket on, crying, holding her little hands and they didn’t even know she was missing,” Bishop said. “Temperature at the time it happened when the parent pulled up, was 23 (degrees), real feel outside was 0.”
As soon as he heard what happened, Bishop’s heart dropped. He said it’s not clear how long Avery was outside in the cold but the parent who spotted her told Bishop she witnessed at least 20 minutes.
“[It’s] not a bad daycare, she’s been there since she was an infant, great people, wonderful people that love my daughter, I don’t believe this was malicious, it’s just a horrible, tragic event that could have been so much worse,” Bishop said. “The biggest issue is our child’s safety was at stake. We almost didn’t have her with us.”
Bishop said Avery did not receive any medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Chief Baker said the Farmington Police Department got a statement from the daycare and from Bishop. He said police also contacted the Missouri Division of Family Services hotline to report the incident and the division is conducting its own investigation.
Bishop said a representative from DFS is set to interview his daughter Wednesday morning.
Bishop said the family is daycare shopping again.
“We are having to look at other daycares, which is so scary, as a parent,” Bishop said. “You’re like, ‘How can you ever trust anybody?’”
FOX 2/KPLR 11 contacted the daycare via email and by phone and we have not heard back.