(Reuters) - A three-year-old boy died after being left for hours in a Florida daycare van, and criminal charges are pending against the worker who transported him in the vehicle, officials said on Tuesday.
If an autopsy confirms that Myles Hill perished from being left in the hot vehicle, his will be the 32nd such death for U.S. children in 2017 and the fifth in Florida, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a news conference.
A daycare worker found the boy dead in the back seat of the van operated by Orlando’s Little Miracles Academy late on Monday, Mina said.
“We believe Myles was in the hot van all day long,” he said.
The chief said a daycare worker picked up Myles and other children to take them to another Little Miracles Academy during the morning. She returned to the first daycare center and did not realize the boy was still in the van, Mina said.
Myles was found after his grandmother called police and the daycare center because he had not been dropped off at her home, he said.
Temperatures in Orlando reached 93 Fahrenheit (34 Celsius) on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
Mike Carroll, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said in a statement that the agency was seeking to shut down operations of the daycare centers by Wednesday and a child death investigation had been opened.
One of the two centers had five licensing violations in the last two years, the statement said.
Calls to the two Little Miracles sites went unanswered on Tuesday.
Florida is second behind Texas among U.S. states for the number of children left in vehicles who have died from heat stroke since 1998, according to the NoHeatStroke.org website maintained by Jan Null, a meteorology lecturer at San Jose State University in California.
A total of 732 children have died from being left in a hot vehicle since 1998, the site said.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Andrew Hay