ORLANDO, FL — Left behind in a daycare van all day in the parking lot, 3-year-old Myles Hill suffered from extreme heat exposure that proved fatal; his body was found lying on the floor in back of the vehicle.
At the center of the investigation is Little Miracles Academy in Orlando, a daycare center that uses a van to transport children from one daycare facility to another and for picking up and dropping off children at their homes.
When Myles' family became alarmed since he was never dropped off at their home on Monday afternoon, they called employees at the center who told them they hadn't seen Myles all day.
The 3-year-old was eventually found dead inside the van at around 6:30 PM. Shockingly, police believe he'd been there since 9:00 AM. High temperatures that day peaked 93 degrees.
Whether Myles was locked inside the van or not remains unclear. What is known is police determined Myles was unaccounted for while being transferred from one location to another and that the driver did not do a head count.
The employee responsible for Myles' death has not yet been named or charged. However, Orlando Police Chief John Mina assured the driver will face charges once the autopsy report is completed and shows neglect.
"If Myles' death is determined to be heat-related, he will be the 32nd child this year to die in a hot car in the United States — and the fifth in Florida," the chief stated.
The Little Miracles Academy daycare facility has had numerous complaints and inspection problems in the past and is closed until further notice.
UPDATE AUGUST 11, 2017: 51-year-old Deborah St. Charles was charged today with aggravated manslaughter of a child as the coroner ruled Myles' official cause of death as hyperthermia due to environmental exposure. According to Orlando Police, St. Charles exited the van twice without noticing Myles left behind and was not even supposed to drive at the facility. The investigation also found that the second time St. Charles exited the van after retrieving her belongings, she was on her cell phone.