Florida mom finds 2-year-old locked alone inside daycare center when she arrived late to pick her up

A Florida mother found her two-year-old daughter abandoned and locked inside a daycare when she arrived late for pickup.

Stephanie Martinez of Plantation, FL, was running late on Wednesday to pick up her two-year-old daughter Anastasia from the KinderCare Learning Center when she arrived to an empty parking lot, WSVN reported. Before contacting the police, Martinez reached out to Samantha Scaramellino, Anastasia’s emergency contact. Scaramellino recounted the event on social media.

“She called me to ask if I had her or if I got a call. I hadn’t heard anything,” Scaramellino wrote before detailing that Martinez contacted the police.

When speaking with the 911 dispatcher, Martinez said, “They know I get here around 6, 6:15, because I have to pick up my other son by 6. I get here, everything’s shut off, no cars, which is weird.”

It wasn’t until Martinez started banging on the windows that her daughter made herself visible. Anastasia reportedly pushed a chair over to the door to stand on so she could look out.

“That was the only reason that I was able to see her, is because she’s shorter than the door,” Martinez said. “She got on the chair to say, ‘Mommy.'”

Emergency services were dispatched to the location at 6:28 pm, WPLG reported, and they were able to pry open the door and retrieve Anastasia at 6:51 pm.

(Video: WPLG)

Nichole Burrillo, assistant director at Plantation KinderCare, told police that she closed the daycare center with Lucilena Viggiano, a teacher after Viggiano had used their tablet device to confirm all the children had been picked up.

Burrillo stated that the building had been checked before they locked the doors and departed at 6:20 pm. The police report stipulated that “the business closes at 6 p.m., however, they stay open for parents who regularly pick up their children late.”

In response to the incident, KinderCare released a statement that read in part, “At KinderCare, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the children in our care…” and, “this incident should not have happened.”

They went on to explain that they have contacted Child Protective Services and state licensing to investigate the incident and that both Burrillo and Viggiano were placed on administrative leave. Martinez has sought legal counsel.

On Friday, her attorney released a statement, “We are outraged that KinderCare endangered the life of a child by not observing any safety protocols…” and, “Ms. Martinez was forced in horror to witness her child in peril and it was not until law enforcement and the fire department were called that the toddler was then extricated through extreme measures.”

The attorney further claimed that KinderCare representatives did not answer the phone during the emergency and have not issued an apology but instead have only provided, “a bad excuse for what happened.” They intend to file a lawsuit, “to ensure that nothing like this happens to another child.”

In describing Anastasia’s trauma after the event, Martinez said she was, “shocked. She just came straight to me…would not let me go.”


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