June 21, 2011— -- The owner of a Georgia day care center and two employes have been charged with cruelty to children and manslaughter in the death of a 2-year-old girl who was left in a locked van for two hours while daytime temperatures soared into the mid-90s.
Jazmin Green's death came Monday, just three months after the day care center, Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning Center in Jonesboro, was found to be in violation of a Georgia law that requires a check of vehicles after trips "to assure that no child remains on the vehicle."
Marlo Fannings, the owner of the center, Fanning's daughter Quantabia Hopkins and a teenager whose name has not been released were arrested and charged with cruelty to children in the second degree, involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, according to the Clayton County Police Department.
The children were taken in the center's van on a field trip to a Chuck E. Cheese. After returning to the center, Jazmin was overlooked and left in the van.
Officer John K. Schneller said it was Hopkins who realized at approximately 3:30 p.m. that Jazmin was not inside the center. The field trip van had returned to the daycare center between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. The temperature outside was about 93 degrees.
"Hopkins went into the parking lot and found Jazmin still in her car seat inside the van," Schneller said in a press statement, adding that the 2-year old was nonresponsive and didn't appear to be breathing.
The child's mother, April McAlister, spoke with ABC News' Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV.
"They just kept saying she fell asleep between the seats, and they didn't realize she was gone," said McAlister, describing her daughter as smart, lovable and playful. "I just don't understand how they can do that to my baby."
McAlister, along with Jazmine's father Checo Green, said that they want the daycare center closed.
"You miss my child for three hours? That's not a mistake, that's a problem," said Green.
According to the ChildcareCenter.us, a website that collects information on childcare centers, Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning cares for over 40 children of infant, toddler, preschool and school-age.
An average of 38 children die every year in hot cars from heat-related deaths, according to Kids And Cars, a group that documents and studies the dangers associated with children and motor vehicles. The organization reports that between 1998 and 2010, 495 children died from vehicular heat stroke, with 2010 breaking the record with 49 deaths.