ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The owner of a Florida day care center where a 3-year-old boy was found dead after being left in a van all day apologized to the child’s family hours before the state announced it was temporarily shutting the business down.
Audrey Thornton said Wednesday at a news conference at her attorney’s office that she was extremely sorry about the death of Myles Hill. Later that day, the Florida Department of Children and Families issued an emergency suspension order for Little Miracles Academy.
“Our hearts are broken about the senseless loss of Myles and we will continue to support his family,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a prepared statement. “We are conducting a thorough investigation and are assisting law enforcement with their criminal investigation.”
More than 100 people gathered to remember Myles at a candlelight vigil Tuesday night. Relatives told local news outlets that the boy would have turned 4 on Aug. 22. Instead, he was found dead Monday night, and police say he had been inside the van for nearly 12 hours.
During the vigil, Chiel Banks remembered her son as a happy child, adding she called him “my baby genius, ’cause he knew everything.”
Orlando police Chief John Mina said Myles was supposed to have been dropped off Monday morning at another day care center but instead he was taken to the location where his body was later found. The driver admitted to “not doing a head count” and may face criminal charges.
Detectives were awaiting autopsy results but believe they will show the boy’s death was caused by heat in the van. Thornton wouldn’t answer questions about the driver or procedures in place at the day care regarding the transport of children.
State records show the day care center wasn’t in compliance last month with rules about keeping logs on transporting children.