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A florida mom found her two-year-old daughter alone and locked inside a dark room at her daycare center after coming to pick her up a few minutes late.
Stephanie Martinez is pursuing legal action against Plantation KinderCare after she went to pick up her daughter Anastasia and found her abandoned in a dark room, standing on a chair and crying.
Martinez called 911 and was only reunited with her toddler after the Plantation Fire Department arrived and pried the building’s doors open.
‘She’s crying, she’s in there by herself,’ Martinez could be heard telling the 911 operator in cell phone video she began taking when she saw Anastasia alone in the room.
Stephanie Martinez found her two-year-old daughter Anastasia alone and locked inside a dark room after coming to pick her up from daycare a few minutes late
When Martinez arrived at the daycare center, she found Anastasia standing on a chair and crying
Martinez called 911 and was only reunited with her toddler after the Plantation Fire Department arrived and pried the building’s doors open
The daycare’s assistance director, Nichole Burrillo, told police that she and Lucilena Viggiano, a teacher, were the last employees on the premises and responsible for closing.
Burrillo said Viggiano uses a tablet device to check all of the children out before closing the daycare center, according to a police report seen by Local 10 News.
The daycare closes at 6pm, but staff typically stay later because of parents who often come later for pickup, like Martinez, who picks up another child earlier.
Burrillo and Viggiano both left around 6:20pm, they told police. Martinez arrived eight minutes later. She told police that she did not receive a call from the daycare to let them know her child was still there.
Both employees have since been placed on administrative leave while the daycare and its affiliates investigate the incident further, KinderCare confirmed in a statement to NBC 6.
The Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protection Services and Plantation Police are now investigating the incident, which happened last Tuesday at the KinderCare Child Care Center on Sunrise Boulevard.
Martinez says her child is now ‘traumatized.’
‘It's the worst feeling ever. You feel helpless,’ Martinez told NBC 6. ‘You can't do anything to console her. She was definitely stressed out and definitely crying the whole time she was there by herself.’
Martinez is now pursuing legal action against Plantation KinderCare for leaving her daughter Anastasia alone and not notifying her
The Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protection Services and Plantation Police are now investigating the incident
Martinez says her child was left ‘traumatized' by the incident. Anastasia was above in an undated photo with her aunt and emergency contact, Samantha Scaramellino
When she arrived at the daycare center, Martinez saw that the parking lot was empty and the building was locked. She called the child’s aunt and emergency contact, Samantha Scaramellino, who told her that she had not picked up Anastasia and to call the police.
‘I still can’t believe this even happened. Tonight my two-year-old niece was left in the daycare center after they closed,’ Scaramellino wrote in a Facebook post recounting the events.
Martinez said Anastasia heard her banging outside the building and was able to push a chair next to the window and stand up to get her attention.
'Nobody should ever go through this,' Martinez told NBC 6. 'You pay for trust and they completely voided that. I have no words, I'm still in shock right now.'
The day care’s assistance director, Nichole Burrillo, told police that she and Lucilena Viggiano, a teacher, were the last employees on the premises and responsible for closing
Both employees have since been placed on administrative leave while the daycare and its affiliates investigate the incident further, KinderCare confirmed in a statement to NBC 6
'We take all concerns about children’s safety seriously and follow a specific protocol anytime an issue is raised. Part of that protocol includes notifying our agency partners, like state licensing and Child Protective Services, as we did in this case,' the statement adds.
Martinez said she plans on taking legal action against the daycare to ‘ensure that nothing like this happens to another child,’ her attorney said in a statement to Local 10 News.
'We are outraged that KinderCare endangered the life of a child by not observing any safety protocols that led to a two-year-old being abandoned and locked inside a darkened facility,' reads the statement from the attorney, whose name was not listed by the news outlet.
'Making the whole situation worse was that Ms. Martinez was forced in horror to witness her child in peril and it was not until law enforcement and the fire department were called that the toddler was then extricated through extreme measures,' the statement reads.
‘The entire event could’ve been avoided if KinderCare did not abandon their responsibilities and the toddler. What adds insult to injury is that nobody at KinderCare bothered to answer the phone in this emergency situation, they failed to apologize for their bad behavior and they failed to provide anything but a bad excuse for what happened,’ the statement adds.