Utah Toddler Suffocates Under Bean Bag Chair as Unaware Daycare Staffer Sits on Top of Him: Cops
West Jordan, Utah, police say the child care employee did not know the child was under the chair
A Utah toddler suffocated under a bean bag last week as a child care employee sat unaware on top of him, reading to other kids, authorities confirm to PEOPLE.
Police in West Jordan, Utah, responded to the West Jordan Child Center on Thursday morning and found the child unresponsive. The toddler died later at a local hospital, a police spokesman tells PEOPLE.
“We have a toddler that was under a beanbag that was sat on by an adult,” the spokesman says. “That adult, according to everything we’ve seen, did not know the child was underneath.”
The spokesman said it is against department policy to identify the child. However, several reports have identified the toddler as 1-year-old Leonardo Sanchez.
“How could this happen? He’s a big boy. How did they lose track of him?” Sanchez’ mother, Danielle Sanchez, told KUTV, adding, “Somebody dropped the ball, and now we’re going to have to bury a boy because of that.”
Sanchez said Leonardo, who would have turned 2 this week, was under the chair for up to 15 minutes before the employee realized he was there, according to KUTV. The employee was reportedly reading to the other children during that time.
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The name of the child care employee has not been released, and PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach center officials or the Sanchez family for comment.
In a statement released through an attorney, the center said, “No words adequately describe the depth of the sorrow we feel,” according to Fox 13.
The Sanchez family told Fox 13 they plan to hold Leonardo’s funeral on his birthday, Sept. 17. They have encouraged guests to bring birthday presents which will be given to patients at a children’s hospital.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family to cover funeral costs.