Daycare Owner Apologizes to 3-Year-Old Who Died After Being Left in Hot Van for 12 Hours: 'I'm So Sorry'
The owner of the Orlando daycare where a 3-year-old boy died after being left in a hot van expressed remorse during a Wednesday press conference.
“I want to apologize to Myles,” Audrey Thornton, the owner of Little Miracles Academy, said through tears. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for your loss and I don’t want you all to be upset at me. I loved Myles and I took care of Myles since he was a baby.”
Myles Hill’s body was found in the backseat of a van parked outside the daycare center Monday evening. He allegedly had been forgotten about by the driver, an employee of Little Miracles Academy, and had spent nearly 12 hours in the vehicle, WESH2 reports.
“Anybody that knows me knows that I take care of my kids, if I ever open back up this won’t happen again,” Thornton said at the press conference.
“I want to tell Granny, I’m sorry. I want everybody to just trust me. It was a mistake. I’m sorry to the whole Banks family,” she continued.
According to Orlando police, Myles was picked up Monday morning with other children and was supposed to be dropped off at another Little Miracles location instead of the one he was taken to. The driver, who allegedly admitted to not conducting a head count, parked the van in the parking lot and left the boy inside, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Charges against the driver are pending, awaiting an autopsy report.
Thornton said she had just returned home when she heard about the boy’s body being discovered.
“I was just hurt,” she said. “It was devastated knowing this could happen.”
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At the presss conference, Thornton said she would keep her business open. But on Wednesday, the state’s Department of Children and Families shut down both locations.
“Our hearts are broken about the senseless loss of Myles and we will continue to support his family. We are conducting a thorough investigation and are assisting law enforcement with their criminal investigation,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
According to Frady, Little Miracles had been cited in the past for not keeping proper paperwork. According to the Sentinel, employees were not keeping records of children’s destinations, arrival times and locations.
The location Myles attended did not have any previous citations.
On Wednesday, evening Myles’ aunt, Chiquerria Banks, told WFTV9 she wants justice for her nephew.
“I want everybody to pay for their actions. Everybody that was here has something to do with something because you were here,” Banks told the outlet as she sat outside the school. “Just imagine a 3-year-old child in a van, windows up, no water, nothing. That’s suffering.”
The Orange/Osceola County State Attorney’s Office and Orlando Police Department could not be reached for comment. Thornton and her attorney did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses.