Day care shut down after child forgotten in hot SUV dies

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The state forced a Louisville day care to shut down immediately Wednesday, two days after a toddler forgotten in a hot SUV by a staff member died.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued an emergency, indefinite suspension Wednesday for Lil Kings and Queens Learning Academy, finding it posed an "immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare."

The agency's order says a staff member picked up 2-year-old Lavontae Swain at home just after 9:30 a.m. Monday and forgot to deliver him to the center.

More than six hours later, about 3:45 p.m., the driver arrived at an elementary school to pick up other children. Two schoolchildren climbing into the SUV discovered the 2-year-old unresponsive in the back seat.

School staff took the boy inside to try to resuscitate him, but to no avail.

The coroner found that the child died from hyperthermia, an excessively high body temperature. The cabinet said the boy's whereabouts during the six-hour stretch remain unclear.

A woman who answered the phone at the day care declined to comment Wednesday. The company operates two centers on the same street, and both were closed by the state.

The center has been investigated before. It was cited several times for failing to properly supervise babies and preschool-aged children, among other infractions, according to state records. State inspectors wrote that they found babies and toddlers left alone in rooms and that staff members were tasked with supervising too many children. In September 2015, one person was responsible for 14 2-year-olds.

The agency's emergency suspension notice states that the center had been on a corrective action plan stemming from the prior violations, yet continued to fail to keep required documentation on the children in its care.

The center can appeal the suspension.

Dwight Mitchell, a spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said an investigation is ongoing. It will be handed over to prosecutors to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

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