Local News

Baby Stranded in Raleigh Day Care Alone, After Hours

Posted April 6, 1999

— A Raleigh day care owner faces charges for closing her center Wednesday night while a 1-year-old child was still inside. The child was left unattended for hours at aLaPetite Day Care Centeron Falls of Neuse Road.

Raleigh police are continuing to investigate the case, and they have already arrested one person.

Lindsay O'Hara has experienced a parent's worst nightmare. "I know that he wanted to get out. He has scars, or marks, on his face from trying to climb out of the crib that he was in."

Police say the incident involved miscommunication among workers; as a result, the center's 29-year-old director has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child. Police say more charges could be filed.

Workers from the Division of Child Development spent the morning inside the day care investigating to see if other children are safe.

One mother who heard about the incident on the radio says she is not taking any chances with her child.

"I just went out looking for another sitter," said Norma Bylorn. "It takes this to make me go ahead and find another day care because it shouldn't happen like that. It scared me to death and I just started crying because that could have been my child."

The director of the agency says she cannot assure parents that children are safe at the day care until the investigation is complete.

The agency has the authority to shut down the center immediately, but more likely would start an administrative action which could lead to the revocation of the center's license.

The center has been in trouble on at least two prior occassions. Several years ago a worker was fired for taping two childrens' mouths shut during nap time.

A 1-year-old child spent hours alone inside a locked day care center Tuesday after workers closed up for the night and left him there. Now,Raleigh policeand the child's family want to know how it happened.

"I hope that he was asleep most of the time just so he wasn't in fear," the child's mother Lindsay O'Hara said.

O'Hara said that her mother had gone to pick up the child, as she always does on Tuesdays, at 6:20 p.m. from theLa Petite Academyon Fall of Neuse Road. However, a day care worker told her mother that the child had already gone home with his mother.

When both O'Hara and her mother returned home three hours later, they realized that neither had picked up the child.

The baby's grandmother rushed to the day care center around 9:30 p.m. She found an unlocked window, broke in, and found the child.

"You could hear him crying outside of the building," O'Hara said. "I couldn't believe that he was there by himself."

Raleigh police also want to know how the child was left alone. Capt. Mike Longmire said the day care workers may have been confused because O'Hara stopped by to play with the child during the late afternoon.

"We're still trying to get to the bottom of it," Longmire said. "But apparently they did have some miscommunications between themselves, as well as the day care staff making some assumptions."

Wednesday night the child was back home, but O'Hara says that while her son was left in the crib alone, he was injured trying to get out.

"He wanted to get out," O'Hara said. "He has marks on his face from trying to climb out of the crib that he was in."

"I would consider [this case] unusual," Longmire said. "It doesn't happen everyday."

Longmire said it is still too early to determine if any charges will be filed. Officials with the StateDivision of Child Development, which oversees day care centers, are also investigating the case.

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