5-year-old dies in day care van parked outside the
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark.-- A 5-year-old
died on a day care bus in West Memphis, Arkansas.
West Memphis Police Department said Christopher
Gardner Jr. was found dead at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
The child was picked up from their family at 6:40
a.m. The bus arrived at the day care at 7:20 a.m. The
young boy was found dead in a booster seat hours later.
"You can see that my great grandbaby suffered in
that van," great grandmother Carrie Smith said. "That
She said when Gardner would get
off the van every afternoon he would expect one thing -
"When he got off the van he'd say
'granny have you got me a cookie today'," Smith said.
The child's mother said she signed a sheet of paper
around 6:30 a.m. Monday indicating he had been picked up
and was on the bus. He arrived at the Ascent Children's
Health Services facility around 7:15 a.m.
it is not clear why the child did not, or could not, get
off the bus.
Sources tell WMC Action News 5 a
driver and another adult on the van. In addition,
sources said Gardner was actually signed into the Ascent
facility even though he was still in the van.
"I'm very upset about it. They didn't look and they
can't tell me they looked," Smith said. "They didn't."
Gardner's family said he had been going to Ascent
since he was 1 year old. They said he had two heart
surgeries and was at the facility for development
The West Memphis facility is described by
the company's website as a place that "provides quality
outpatient and day treatment services to children and
their families that are in need of mental health or
Employees at the facility
did not want to talk. Some of them even drove away from
the facility with coats over their head.