Child left in hot day care bus in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Chapel Hill day care center is now under investigation after a 2-year-old child was left inside a school bus for several hours Tuesday, when temperatures flirted with 100 degrees.

Operation New Life daycare admitted to ABC11 that there was an incident with toddler Karah Evans.

"I'm angry because, we as parents, we entrust these people to take care of our children," said Evans' mom, Kimberly Cates.

Cates filed a police report with authorities after administrators begged for her not to go to the authorities.

She said day care administrators showed up at her front door with the child and informed her the child was left on the school bus most of the day.

"They said they had given her some water and ice and tried to feed her, and she threw up several times," said Cates.

Cates said Karah was lethargic, wouldn't speak, and was wearing a new set of clothes.

"They changed her clothes and everything," she said. "They brought back her (original) clothes and they were soaking wet in a bag."

Cates told ABC11 the administrators were bombarding her with bribes. Cates said they offered to waive daycare fees, and pay for medical expenses in exchange for silence.

"They were like 'Call us. Don't call anybody else. Call us,'" said Cates. "They were worried about themselves and what was going to happen to them, not my child or me. I just couldn't believe they didn't call 911."

Administrators said the person responsible for the child's welfare has been fired. The center released this statement:

"Yesterday afternoon, June 16th, 2015, there was an incident with one of the children in our care. When the administration and staff at Operation New Life became aware of the situation, we took immediate action to tend to the child in need as well as alerting the parents of the child. Be assured the safety and care of the children entrusted to us is our highest priority. The individual responsible for the incident failed to perform her duties and avoided several safety checks built into company policies to ensure the safety of the children. The administration has addressed the breakdown in policy by implementing a new reforms policy that will require more than one person to be responsible for a specific duty and strength the safeguards involved to ensure that nothing like this ever happened again. The individual was terminated immediately upon learning what had happened. Also the ownership, staff and administration of Operation New Life is coopering fully with State and local authorities as they investigate this matter."

The center would not comment on if they asked Cates to handle the incident internally.

"I think they should be held accountable for what they done," said Cates.

While Cates is angry about the incident, she's also thankful she still has her daughter and knows the outcome could have ended differently.

"You hear about all these cases where people leave their kids in the car by accident or on purpose and they don't make it. So I'm very blessed. Very, very blessed," she said. "I couldn't imagine my life without her."

Evans is back home after spending Tuesday night at UNC Children's Hospital. The toddler was under constant watch of doctors. They performed a series of tests to see if there was any organ damage from the extreme heat.

The child is doing okay now. There is some bruising around her lap area. Cates thinks that happened when the child was strapped into the car seat and was fighting to get out.

Chapel Hill police said investigators are now determining how long the child was stuck on the bus. Criminal charges have not been filed.

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