Toddler dies after going missing; daycare licence suspended
Published Friday, May 25, 2018 8:18AM EDT
The B.C. daycare centre where a toddler died after wandering off into a neighbour’s backyard pool has had its licence suspended.
The 23-month-old girl went missing from Melissa’s Bright Beginnings Childcare Center in Mission, B.C. on Wednesday afternoon. Police were called after one of the daycare workers noticed the child hadn’t been seen for nearly 10 minutes.
The toddler was discovered unresponsive in a neighbour’s outdoor pool after an intense police search involving canine units and RCMP aircraft. The young girl was rushed to hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Mitsuko Clysdale lives across the street from the daycare centre and said she witnessed the police search for the missing toddler.
“It’s a shock,” she told CTV Vancouver on Thursday. “I was feeling for the parents. I can’t imagine.”
Police said they’re focusing their attention on the home daycare centre and inspecting the fence and gates that separated the property from the neighbour’s backyard.
“At this point, the investigation is just to assess what happened,” Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford said. “We’ll assess if there’s any culpability and move forward through the normal process.”
It’s not the first time Melissa’s Bright Beginnings Childcare Center has come under scrutiny. Fraser Health conducted a surprise inspection of the facility back in January where they found several violations, including too many children under the age of three in the daycare. They also discovered “supervision challenges” based on the layout of the home.
In April, Fraser Health received a complaint related to noise and supervision at the business. The health agency said the daycare operator committed to addressing those concerns.
Melissa Richmond, the operator of the daycare, did not respond to requests for comment.
The daycare’s licence, which was issued in September, was immediately suspended following the toddler’s death.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s David Molko