Questions remained unanswered for the grieving family of a young boy who was left in a day care van and died of heat.
Benjamin Price, a three-year-old boy, was found dead inside a hot van Friday afternoon outside the Little T’s Tiny Tots day care center in Dallas. Police said it is possible that Benjamin was left in the van for as long as two hours before an employee found him. The medical examiner confirmed Saturday that the extreme heat likely killed Benjamin. The outside temperature at the time of his death was more than 100 degrees.
“A kid shouldn’t have to die in a van,” his grandfather Donald Washington said.
“You trust these people to watch your kids ’til you get home. You expect them to be alive when you get off work,” Washington said. “You don’t need nobody calling you, telling you, ‘Sorry, I left your kid in the van.’ That’s not a good enough excuse.”
Benjamin’s death was an eerie and disturbing reminder for Avonda Fox. On the same day six years ago, her son Jacob suffered the same fate. In a frightening twist, employees moved Jacob’s body to an area park in an effort to conceal what really happened.
Fox urged for new laws, and even formed a foundation in honor of her son Jacob. Like many others, she wonders when things like this will stop happening. Fox said the state should be held accountable in many cases to make sure day care centers are shut down when they’re a danger to kids.
She sued the state in Jacob’s case, a matter that is still in litigation.
“When you lose a child, it’s the most horrific thing,” Fox said. “Horrible tragedy.”
Benjamin’s protective grandparents Donald and Colette Washington remember how the little boy loved to ride his bike. “We get up around 8 and he says, ‘Papa, let’s go riding,'” Donald said. The bicycle was still equipped with training wheels. “He wasn’t ready yet,” he said. “Well, he was ready, but we wouldn’t take them off.”
They will now never get to see Benjamin ride this bike on his own.
“It should never happen,” Washington said. “How could you look at a parent and tell them, ‘I left your child in a van’?”
The day care worker was taken into custody and could face child endangerment charges.