Every Mother's Nightmare
BOSTON (CN) - A day-care center killed a 1½-year-old boy by leaving him alone in a van for six hours on a hot day - and his mother found out about it on the evening news, she claims in court.
Virginie Cazir sued Associated Early Care and Education Inc. (AECE), Wayne Ysaguirre, Yohanna Tejeda, and Feliz LLC, in Suffolk County Superior Court, on behalf of her late son, Gabriel Josh-Cazir Pierre.
Cazir claims that AECE assigned children, including Gabriel, to different day care centers, including the ones operated by Tejeda and Feliz LLC, but that "as of September 5, 2011, AECE, without consulting Cazir, changed Gabriel's day care provider to Tejeda."
"Tejeda operated a family day care from her home, which was at a different location than Gabriel's prior day care.
"AECE also assigned Gabriel a transportation van to drive him to and from his home and day care each day," the complaint states.
Cazir says: "In the early morning hours of September 12, 2011, Gabriel was picked up at his home by Gloria's Kids Transportation, and the driver, [Luis] Matos, belted Gabriel into his seat in the transportation van.
"Matos pick up other children at locations in Dorchester, who were being transported to Feliz's day care.
"Gabriel was the only child in the van assigned to Tejeda's day care center.
"Tejeda's day care center was scheduled to be the first drop-off stop on the trip.
"Matos failed to stop at Tejeda's day care center on September 12, 2011, and Gabriel was not dropped off at Tejeda's day care on September 12, 2011."
After the driver dropped off all of the other children, Cazir claims, "Matos parked and locked the van, leaving the van parked in the hot sun, adjacent to Feliz's day care.
"Prior to parking the van and after the children were dropped off at Feliz's day care, Matos never inspected the van to determine if there were any children left remaining in the van.
"Gabriel was left in the van from the early morning hours until shortly after 3 p.m., when his lifeless body was discovered.
"Gabriel, who was left behind in his seat inside the van for approximately 6 hours, in the scorching heat, died as a result.
"According to the National Weather Service, temperatures recorded at Logan International Airport on September 12, 2011 rose to 81 degrees. The temperatures in the van were much higher."
Matos is not named as a defendant.
Cazir says that "Tejeda, despite her knowledge that Gabriel was scheduled to attend her day care on September 12, 2011, failed to contact Cazir or any other contacts identified in Gabriel's file, after he failed to attend day care on September 12, 2011.
"Even after learning of Gabriel's death, neither Tejeda nor anyone else called Cazir to inform her that Gabriel had not been dropped off at day care or to inform Cazir that he had died after being left in the transportation van.
"Cazir, and Gabriel's family, first learned of Gabriel's death upon viewing the local evening news."
Cazir says in the complaint that Tejeda got the license to operate her day care center in July 2011 and that after this incident, "Ysaguirre informed the public that AECE did not require day care providers to contact parents to inform them that their children were absent from day care until after four days had passed."
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, negligence, gross negligence and pain and suffering.
She is represented by Michael Stone, with Peabody and Arnold of Boston.