The employee had checked the van after the infant's mother called the day care to make after-school arrangements, but the infant hadn't been checked-in that morning, the release said. Officials say the mother then rushed over and found the girl in the van. Temperatures in Jacksonville on Wednesday had reached 92 degrees, according to reports.
The director and co-owner of the day-care, Darryl Ewing (56), was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with child neglect, NBC news reports.
The little girl was picked up earlier that day from her brought to the academy, which has an infant daycare program, in a van driven by co-owner of the facility Darryl Ewing, police said.
The building is surrounded by police tape, officers and homicide detectives, including the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office chief of investigations. "DCF immediately opened a joint child death and child care licensing investigation in coordination with law enforcement". Drivers must also conduct visual inspections to make sure no child is left in the vehicle. "The suspect parked the van in front of the daycare and left the vehicle unattended with the victim still strapped in her auto seat in the third row of the van". Staffers discovered the child in the van, unresponsive.
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Duval County Jail records obtained by News 4 Jax reveal that Ewing has been arrested at least four times before, though it was not immediately clear why.
"It was determined the suspect's actions [and lack thereof] failed to provide the victim with the necessary supervision and provide services to protect the victim's physical health, all which was essential to the victim's well-being and contributed to the death of the victim", said the sheriff's office in a statement.
DCF has issued an emergency suspension order to cease operations at the daycare centre, which had been licensed by the agency since 2016. They were working with the State Attorney's Office to determine if any charges will be filed in the case.
"Every day, parents entrust child-care providers with their most precious gifts", said Chad Poppell, the secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), in a statement.
The investigation into the infant's death is ongoing.