ORLANDO, Fla. — Three-year-old Myles Hill would have turned 4 on Aug. 22, something his mother lamented during a vigil Tuesday night outside the day care where the toddler was found dead in a van Monday.
"My baby is 3 years old. He's 3," Chiel Banks said. "He's going to be 4 on the 22nd of this month and he's not going to have a birthday."
Myles was found dead Monday evening in a van parked at a day care where he had been left for nearly 12 hours, Orlando police Chief John Mina said Tuesday during a news conference.
Police were called shortly before 8:30 p.m. to Little Miracles Academy on West Gore Street near Rio Grande Avenue in reference to a report of child neglect, Mina said.
Officers found Myles on the floor of the back seat of the van, and paramedics pronounced him dead, Mina said.
Banks tearfully remembered her young son during Tuesday's candlelight vigil, saying he was a bright, happy little boy.
"When he was little, he would say, like, 'Oh, mommy, that's the sky,' like he knew everything," she said, crying. "So I used to always call him my baby genius, cause he knew everything. So, I want justice for my baby."
Mina said a day care worker picked up Myles and other children from another day care location.
"Of course we're mad. We're upset because you know. Everyone is like, 'We forgot about him, head count.' OK, you forgot about head count, what about child restraint," said Stacy Irvin, Myles' aunt.
The boy is believed to have been in the van since 9 a.m. Monday, Mina said.
, the high temperature in Orlando Monday was 93 degrees.
It would have only taken an hour for the inside of the van to reach temperatures topping 140 degrees, Terry said.
"We're devastated. We just want answers," Irvin said. "He's a happy, outgoing person. He's very sweet. Myles is very sweet."
Mina said charges are pending against the worker, whose identity hasn't been released. He described the employee as distraught and cooperative with the investigation.
Barbara Livingston, the boy’s great aunt, told Channel 9 that relatives called 911 once they realized it was past 8 p.m. and the toddler hadn’t been dropped off home by day care workers yet. She said Myles had been picked up at 7:45 a.m. and was supposed to return at 6:30 p.m.
“They've been bringing him home very late, so she called me tonight and said, ‘They didn't bring my baby home yet.’ And I said, ‘Well, it's after 8 o’clock,” Livingston said. “So then everybody starts crying."
The day care worker checked the van and found Myles, Livingston said.
She said relatives went to the day care, where workers said he was “gone” and pointed toward a van.
“My niece called and said that she was here and that's who looked in the van and saw him,” Livingston said. “She said, ‘Auntie: Myles is dead. I saw him. He's (lying) in the van dead.’”
Livingston said the boy had been going to the day care for two years. She said the boy’s great grandmother had custody of him.
“I'm numb,” she said. “I don't know how to feel.”
Myles was the fifth child in Florida to die this year from being left in a hot vehicle and the 32nd nationwide, Mina said.
He urged parents to place a cellphone, a shoe, a wallet or a purse beside seated children to remind them that a child is riding in the vehicle with them.
"Please be sure that we're checking our vehicle for our kids," he said.
Corey Esters, Myles' grandfather said, it hurts him to know his grandson suffered. He said his family would like to see the day care permanently closed.
"If you don't have that responsibility, you need to be shut down. You don't need to be operating," he said. "If it's not my daughter's kid, my grandchild, it could be somebody else. We don't want to do this again."
The Florida Department of Children and Families said it's pursuing all legal options to close the day care's two locations.
DCF investigators said the facility was found to be out of compliance weeks ago for failing to track the transportation of children.
Workers are required to keep logs documenting each child's name who is being transported and the date and the time of the departure and the arrival.
At least two staff members are required to sign the logs and a full sweep of the vehicle must be completed.
An autopsy will be conducted to determine the boy's official cause of death.
The day care abruptly deactivated its Facebook page shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday. The facility has closed until further notice.
Cox Media Group