Crime Watch

Aug 13, 2012 2:35 PM by Irina Cates, Breanna Roy - MTN News

Missoula daycare workers accused of leaving child in van appear in court

MISSOULA- The three women who have been charged with negligent endangerment for allegedly leaving a four-year-old in a van while they were watching a movie, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Tot Town Day Care Director Melanie Hoke, Jennifer Nogel and Michelle Asby entered their pleas in Missoula Municipal Court Friday, and their next court appearance is September 24th.

Meanwhile, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services revoked the daycare's license on Thursday.

The health department's investigation of Tot Town Day Care found four violations stemming from a July 19th field trip to the movies, where the state alleges one four-year-old boy, never made it into the theater.

The department says surveillance video shows the boy was not with the other children when they entered the facility. Instead, investigators believe he spent up to 2½ hours alone in a van in the parking lot where temperatures inside reached well above 110 degrees.

That's based on the National Highway Traffic Safety statistic that the inside temperature of a car can rise almost 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes. The temperatures outside ranged between 75 and 80 degrees that day.

Health department officials say that staff members interviewed recalled seeing the child was red in the face and sweaty.

The boy was not hospitalized, but investigators say staff became concerned for the boy's health and administered medication, without proper authority and without documenting it and without contacting medical personnel.

The state requires injuries and accidents to be reported.

The health department considers the incident 'severe' enough to revoke Tot Town's business license, in the name of public health, safety and welfare.

The facility has a few days to request a hearing; otherwise the license will be revoked after the close of business on August 21st.

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