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Parents came to pick up baby from daycare. They found the building locked and dark, cops say

Two daycare owners in West Memphis, Arkansas., were charged with child endangerment after allegedly forgetting an infant inside the business, Primary Learning Academy and Daycare. Parents arrived to find the building locked and employees gone.
Two daycare owners in West Memphis, Arkansas., were charged with child endangerment after allegedly forgetting an infant inside the business, Primary Learning Academy and Daycare. Parents arrived to find the building locked and employees gone. ABC 13 Broadcast/Screenshot

When two parents came to pick up their 8-month-old at Primary Learning Academy and Daycare Friday, what should have been a routine stop turned into a frantic scene.

The doors to the West Memphis, Ark., building were locked, the air conditioning was turned off, the employees were all gone — and the parents didn’t have their baby, Fox 13 reported

The parents called police, according to the station - and they were prepared to force their way into the building.

“There was a cause for concern. They did turn the air conditioner off for the day, so it had risen to 80 degrees by the time we got there,” Capt. Joe Baker of the West Memphis Police department said, according to ABC 13.

“(The parents) were just emotional ... like anybody in the same position,” said a neighbor, who lives near the building and saw what happened, according to the station.

The parents had dropped the child off shortly after 7 a.m. and arrived to pick up the baby around 4:15 p.m. when they called police for help, The Evening Times reported.

But right before officers were about to enter the building, the owners came back.

“She said on the way home she just felt like something was wrong. She didn’t know if she’d left the water on. So they turned around and came back,” Baker said, according to WMC. “There was no real closing protocol that’s followed day to day. They don’t have a name check list that they go down to make sure everybody’s been checked out. I would think it’s a rather informal process.”

They opened the building and found the baby in a crib, where he had been for 30-45 minutes, LocalMemphis reported. The baby was okay.

A big mistake, a bad mistake. This could have been worse. But God stepped in and made sure the child is OK,” a neighbor who saw the scene said, according to WMC. “The baby, he ain’t crying. He came out in the police arms and I said, ‘thank God.’”

Now the two owners of the daycare, Alice and Ronald McClure, have been charged with child endangerment, ABC 13 reported.

The daycare’s license has also been revoked by the state “on an emergency basis,” meaning the business can no longer receive certain funds and participate in certain programs, LocalMemphis reported. The decision can be appealed within 10 days.

The business had no reported issues until now, ABC 13 reported.

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