Utah parents are mourning the death of their toddler, who suffocated to death Thursday when a day care employee sat on a beanbag chair with the boy underneath.
Leo Sanchez would have turned 2 on Sept. 17, CBS News reports. Instead, his parents plan to hold his funeral that day.
Police, who have called the incident a “very tragic, sad accident” are reviewing surveillance footage from West Jordan Child Center in the city of West Jordan, KUTV reports. They believe the employee, who was sitting down to read a story to other children, did not realize Leo was underneath the chair.
“How could this happen?” Leo’s mother, Danielle Sanchez, said in an interview with the station. “He’s a big boy. How did they lose track of him? Too many kids, too much noise, overwhelmed, a bad day. ... Somebody dropped the ball and now we’re going to have to bury a boy because of that.”
Utah’s Department of Health is also investigating. DOH spokesman Tom Hudachko told CBS that within the past five years, the facility has had some “minor infractions” but nothing major. However, former employee Madiee Smith told the network that the day care center was a “disaster” and that staff members were often overwhelmed, with too many kids in their care at once.
Barry Johnson, an attorney for the day care center, released a statement on 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.
Sanchez told the Deseret News that she urges other parents 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,” she said.