Day care owner asks for forgiveness after child's death in van

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two days after a 3-year-old boy was found dead in a van outside her day care, Audrey Thornton recounted the moment she learned a child was unaccounted for, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

"I just started screaming and hollering, and crying and crying and crying," Thornton said.

The owner of the Little Miracles Academy day care in Orlando, where 3-year-old Myles Hill died after being left in a van for up to 11 hours spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon, asking for forgiveness from the boy's family and the Central Florida community.

"I love all my kids and I'm so sorry and I want everyone to just trust me, it was a mistake," Thornton said. 

Orlando police Chief John Mina said it's likely the child had been in the van from 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Monday, when the temperature reached as high as 93 degrees.

The Florida Department of Children and Families on Wednesday issued an emergency suspension order to close two locations of the Little Miracles Academy.
 
Jessica Sims, a spokesman for the agency, said no children will be present or cared for at either facility starting Thursday and lasting until the state "determines it is safe for them to return."
 
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement that officials were assisting law enforcement with a criminal investigation into the death. He noted that the facility was previously cited for not keeping proper paperwork.

Thornton called Myles' death a tragic accident, but not indicative of the care her day care provides.

"Anyone who knows me as a friend, as family, providing for their kids, they know I took care of my kids, I love my kids, I give back to the community and I just want them to trust me and trust in me and that if I ever open back up this will never happen again," Thornton said.

The driver of the van, who police say failed to do a head count after arriving at the day care, has been fired, and may face charges, police said. Thornton's attorney said Florida's Department of Children and Families may permanently shutter the day care.

The boy's aunt, Chiquerria Banks, said Wednesday the family wants a clearer picture of what happened to the boy.

"We want to know if this if this really how he died we want to make sure that if it was heat that killed him, we want to know that," Banks said. "We want to make sure that they didn't do something to my nephew inside that day care and bring him and put him in this van."

Thornton said she hasn't yet spoken to Myles' family, but that she wants them to know she's sorry and she loved Myles, who she described as a smart and kind child.

"I'm sorry for your loss and I don't want you all to be upset with me and I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby and if you all could forgive me," Thornton said through tears. "I'm so sorry just give me a chance to talk to you and explain what happened."

Records show that Monday's incident was not the first time Little Miracles Academy has run into trouble. The Department of Children and Families cited the day care on July 11 for violating a rule requiring the facility to log the destination time, arrival time, destination location and departure location of children transported to and from the center.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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