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Mother has questions in death of son at West Jordan day care

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WEST JORDAN — Leonardo "Baby Leo" Sanchez would have turned 2 in a few days.

"I'm supposed to be planning his birthday party for next week and now I'm planning his funeral," his mother, Danielle Sanchez, said in tears Friday.

On Thursday, Leo died after apparently being trapped under a bean bag an adult sat on at the West Jordan Child Center, 7195 S. Redwood Road.

"That's all I know right now, is my baby suffocated under a bean bag," Sanchez said.

The mother said police told her there is surveillance video of the incident that was being reviewed. She said her son was playing with the other children and crawled under a large bean bag to hide, and was suffocated when an adult sat on it to read a story to the other children.

"I was given different stories. Finally the police officers came and they previewed the film," she said. "I'm just confused. I'm so confused on how you don't know where my kid is. How do you not feel him? How do you not hear him scream?"

West Jordan Police Sgt. Joe Monson confirmed Friday that investigators believe an adult sat on a large bean bag, unaware that Leo was underneath. He said the incident appears to be an unfortunate accident, but the investigation is continuing.

Administrators at West Jordan Child Center declined to comment about the death Friday. Their attorney, Barry Johnson, issued a prepared statement late Friday.

"We regret deeply the tragic death of a young toddler at our day care facility. No words adequately describe the depth of the sorrow we feel. And, of course, we do not pretend to understand how devastating this is for the family. We know the family well, we grieve with them, and we pray that God will provide them the comfort and peace they inevitably will need," Johnson said.

Leo was the third of four children for the Sanchez family. Danielle Sanchez said he had been going to that day care facility for about a year. Prior to Thursday's incident, she said her son once fell at the day care and had to get stitches in his lip. That incident was determined to be an accident and was not suspicious, she said.

Leo loved trains, dogs and kicking balls.

"He was such a good loving boy," she said. "He was such a happy boy."

Leo's heart was harvested for donation to another child.

The message Leo's mother has for other parents is to "hold your children and give hugs and kisses."

"You just don't know when the last time will be when you see your baby. I dropped him off at day care not knowing I'll ever hear his laugh again, hold him again," she said.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help with the Sanchez family's expenses.

Contributing: Ladd Egan


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Pat Reavy

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