Paris Ward of Broward County, Florida was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused her of leaving a child in a parked car for several hours, news sources indicate. The 4-year-old victim later died of hypothermia because of the ordeal. Ward, 19, was booked into police custody on one charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was later released on a $10,000 bail bond. It is unclear whether she has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
Reports say the incident occurred while the young boy was attending 3C’s Academy, a Sunrise-based daycare center. Investigators allege that the owner of the daycare had agreed to watch too many children on the day of the incident and was concerned that the daycare could be cited if an official were to stop by. The daycare center’s owner, who has not been publicly named, has not been charged in relation to the case. It is unclear if the owner will face legal charges regarding the boy’s death, as the investigation remains active.
In any case, concerned about getting in trouble with the law, the owner of the daycare allegedly contacted Ward and asked that she take some of the kids to a nearby apartment complex. Sources say that Ward was not an active employee at the daycare center; it is not clear how Ward knows the daycare’s owner.
Ward reportedly agreed to watch some of the children. She purportedly transported a number of them to the Versailles Gardens apartment complex, located in Tamarac, in her Toyota Sequoia. Reports did not indicate whether the daycare owner notified parents of the move.
When Ward unloaded the children, she purportedly noticed that one boy, later identified as the victim, was asleep. For reasons unknown, she allegedly left the boy behind and escorted the remaining children to an apartment. It is unclear to whom the apartment belonged.
Once situated inside, Ward seemingly forgot that she had left one child in her vehicle, reports say. The child allegedly remained in the car for hours. Ward allegedly did not remember the child until the boy’s cousin, who is five, confronted her about his whereabouts. Ward went to check on the boy and, finding him unresponsive, contacted police.
The victim was rushed to the Broward Health Coral Springs hospital, where medical workers attempted to resuscitate him without luck. They pronounced him dead shortly after his arrival. Physicians measured his internal temperature at 108 degrees and ruled hypothermia the cause of death.
Following Ward’s arrest, investigators closed down the 3C’s Academy Daycare center while they looked into the alleged negligence. The parents of the victim have also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the center.
During a court hearing following her arrest, Ward was granted a $10,000 bail bond, which she has since posted. However, a judge has ordered her to wear an ankle monitor and told her she is not to exit the county. She is also restricted from working in any daycare or caring for any children until a verdict is reached in the case. According to reports, this is Ward’s first and only criminal offense.