Family: 4-year-old left in cold daycare van for 9 hours

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A local family is furious after their four-year-old child was left in the van that picked her up to take her to daycare for nine hours.

Four-year-old Makyia Artis was left in the van outside in the freezing cold while it was snowing out on Friday, thankfully she is okay but her family is asking for accountability from Living Waters Childcare Center to make sure this doesn’t happen to another child.

“The driver supposedly said don’t tell mommy that you were left on the bus all day,” Makyia’s grandmother Brenda Powell said.

Powell said her daughter realized something was wrong with Makyia shortly after she got home.

“When she got in the house her usual routine is to grab her tablet or grab her mom’s phone but she didn’t do that,” Powell said. “Her mom was laying on the couch under the blanket and Makyia just jumped up right under the blanket with her."

Powell said it all started Friday morning. She was told that the van driver and monitor said Makyia was sleepy when she got on the van.

They let her lay down in one of the back seats, but when arrived at school they didn’t check the van to see if she got off.

She also said family or police were not notified after she was found at the end of the day and driven home, that’s when Makyia told her mother what happened and what she says was a plea from the driver not to tell after giving her $3.00.

“I can’t even sit here and say that my granddaughter walked off the bus on her own when they found her,” Powell said. "I can’t say she wasn’t unconscious, I can’t say she was limp or really frozen stiff or none of that because we don’t know what happened to her in between them finding her and them taking her home over 45 minutes late."

“I guess in the process of transporting her home, the driver, because he does have a compassionate heart he stopped to get her something to eat and he took her home. He did give her $3.00 but it wasn’t a bribery,” administrator and part-owner of Living Waters Childcare Center said.

Dunbar said she didn’t find out Makiya was left on the van until her mom called upset.

She said they do have a sign-in and sign-out procedure and the monitor didn’t sign her in so they thought she was absent.

“It wasn’t reported to me even when we do our PM transportation that driver became very afraid because he knew it was a serious matter,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar said she immediately notified the state, went to Makyia’s home to apologize to the family and fired the driver and monitor after she learned what happened.

“I wasn’t aware, the staff that works inside, no one was aware that Makiya was even present and pretty much that’s what it led to once things blew up I immediately called and made the report and that’s what we did from that point on,” Dunbar said.

Powell said she wants this to be a lesson for all families with young kids.

“Take the time to call the schools and daycare yourself. Take this experience that Makyia went through and pick up that phone and call your child’s school and daycare and just ask how’s my child day going today so that you know they are in that classroom,” Powell said.

The Rochester Police Department says Makyia was evaluated by EMS at the scene for hypothermia or other symptoms of exposure and none were found.

Officers said they are continuing to investigate and will determine if there will be any criminal charges.

Dunbar said the center has been open for 21 years and they have already updated their check-in procedures so this doesn’t happen again and Makyia’s family says they already found her a new daycare.