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Florida Mom Finds Distraught 2-Year-Old Daughter Locked In 'Dark, Empty' Day Care After Hours

Florida Mom Finds Distraught 2-Year-Old Daughter Locked In 'Dark, Empty' Day Care After Hours

A frantic mother called 9-1-1 for help after finding her 2-year-old daughter locked alone inside a dark day care in the city of Plantation, Florida after the building was closed.

Stephanie Martinez showed up on Tuesday evening to KinderCare Child Care Center in the city of Plantation and was surprised to find the parking lot empty and all of the lights inside shut off as she approached the door.

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The mom reported the situation to WSVN, which published the terrible tale over the weekend. Frantic as to where her daughter could be, Martinez recalled her reaction to seeing the place closed down (below):

“They know I get here around 6:00 or 6:15, because I have to pick up my other son by 6:00. I get here, everything’s shut off, no cars, which is weird.”

Smartly, Martinez called her daughter’s aunt, Samantha Scaramellino, who is also the girl’s emergency contact with the day care.

Wondering whether Scaramellino could have picked the girl up without remembering to tell her, Martinez quickly discovered that the little girl had not been taken by the aunt.

That immediately led to a major concern, as Samantha told the news outlet:

“She was like, ‘Do you know where Anna is?’ I’m like, ‘no.’ She’s like, ‘I’m at the school, no one’s here.’ My heart dropped. … [I told her to] bang on every window, and see if you hear anything. See if you hear crying.”

Martinez began pounding on the glass, and suddenly, she sensed movement inside.

Checking through the window, she saw her daughter peering up at her from within the “dark, empty” locked building.

The terrified mother recalled the moment to the news org, explaining:

“She managed to push a chair next to the door to stand on it and call for my name, and that was the only reason that I was able to see her, is because she’s shorter than the door. She got on the chair to say, ‘Mommy.'”


Seeing that Anna was alone inside the dark building, Martinez immediately called 9-1-1. Plantation police and fire crews arrived on scene and were able to force the doors open, letting the child out to thankfully reunite with her mother.

According to Martinez, the day care apparently never called her when they closed at 6:00 p.m. to pick up the girl.

The flustered mother explained the aftermath of the situation, and reacted to KinderCare company officials, who claimed the incident occurred because of short staffing:

“What if she fell off the table? You know, she used a chair to get by the door. Like, she’s traumatized. Last night I couldn’t turn off the light; she started crying. … Everyone’s short-staffed but that is not an excuse. This is a child.”

Responding to the media about the ordeal, KinderCare explained that they will be “notifying state licensing and child protective services officials” about the incident.

The company added:

“As these investigations take place, we’ll also take immediate steps to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. They’ll also receive additional training on child care best practices as part of the curriculum we already had planned for all teachers and staff at our centers across the country for Professional Development Day on Monday.”

Will any amount of “additional training” teach people not to leave little kids alone in locked, dark buildings though?? Just not a lot of common sense or care here…

Here is more on the awful situation (below):

Just unbelievable.

Who leaves a kid like that?!

We’re just glad the little girl was physically OK after that awful ordeal.

[Image via WPLG/YouTube]

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Feb 20, 2022 09:55am PDT