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Toddler escapes daycare, suffers fractured skull

A 14-month-old girl found with a fractured skull and a bruised lung in the parking lot of the Chico Christian Daycare center on Wednesday was in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle late last week.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Wilson said it remains unclear how the toddler’s skull was fractured or how a lung was bruised.

Chris Case, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services Children’s Administration, said that state officials from her office and others are still awaiting the results of a separate Bremerton Police Department investigation.

“If you find someone was negligent and either left the gate open or was not supervising children properly, then you determine what the necessary steps are from there,” Case said. “The person who was supervising those children should have had her eyes on that child. They move like lightning at that age, but that’s not supposed to happen when you are supervising a child at a day care center. So, that’s one of the things we’ll look at, is the supervision of children.”

While the state has received complaints over the years, none of them have earned a “founded” determination from DSHS, Case said.

A call to the Daycare center’s manager seeking comment has not been returned. Attempts to reach the Bremerton Police Department for further comment were not immediately successful.

Case said that Chico Christian has been operating as a daycare since the early 70s, under a license from the state’s department of early learning.

A man who had dropped off his own child at the day care discovered the injured child behind his pickup truck as he was preparing to back up Deputy Wilson said, but there’s no evidence that his vehicle actually struck the child.

“The evidence does not indicate that the truck struck the child,” Wilson said. “So, was there another vehicle in the parking lot that could have knocked the child over and the driver didn’t see the child? We don’t know.”

Authorities said the toddler escaped an enclosed play area while an employee was momentarily distracted.

“When she refocused her full attention on the playground and did a head count she realized that she was one child short,” Wilson said. “She then headed for the slide, where she had last seen the little girl, and saw that the gate was open.”

The childcare worker went to the parking lot and discovered a man holding the child behind his pickup truck.

According to the sheriff’s office, the man dropped off his son at around 10:20 a.m. and returned to his vehicle. Once inside his truck, he started the vehicle and put it in reverse when he heard the girl crying.

Wilson said the man put the truck back into park and didn’t actually back up. He got out and found injured girl about the same time that the day care center employee came looking for the missing child.

The man then drove off, Wilson said.

The toddler’s mother eventually arrived at the day care and took her bruised and scraped child to Harrison Hospital, where medical authorities decided to transfer the girl to Harborview and called the police.

Wilson said that the man who discovered the girl behind his truck returned to the day care center and cooperated with investigators.

Wilson said the logical thing would have been for the man driving the pickup or someone at the daycare center to have called 911, but the extent of the girl’s injuries were not readily obvious.

“At the time, they thought she only had scrapes and bruises and didn’t know there was a head injury,” Wilson said.

Wilson said that no criminal charges are likely to result from the incident.

“We’re not taking any action on this other than to document it and forward a report to the prosecutor’s office,” Wilson said. “We’re not taking any corrective action or making a recommendation. We’ll let them (prosecutors) decide if amy criminal charges are to be filed.”

 

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