Toddler Dies in Hot Car After Daycare Operator Gets 'Distracted'

Maliyah Jones

A mother and daughter are on trial together after a toddler at their daycare died. Sandi and Mary Taylor from Portales, New Mexico, are accused of leaving 22-month-old Maliyah Jones and 2-year-old Aubrianna Loya in a hot car on July 25, 2017. Both women are standing trial for this horrible accident that left Maliyah dead and Aubrianna hospitalized at the time in critical condition.  

  • The incident happened on a scorching hot day, when the mother-daughter pair reportedly failed to do a headcount.

    Mary, 64, and Sandi Taylor, 33, owned and operated Taylor Tots Day Care in Portales when two children were left in an unattended vehicle during a sweltering summer day. “I can tell you it was 91 degrees on Tuesday during the heat of the day,” said District Attorney Andrea Reeb, according to ABC 7. “When the children were brought to the hospital the children’s body temps were 109 degrees.”

    The two children were allegedly overlooked after Sandi had returned from an outing with some of the children in their care. According to the Albuquerque JournalSandi taken six kids to a park while Mary stayed home with four other kids. When Sandi returned from the trip, she unloaded four of the kids from their van and brought them inside to take a nap but then got distracted and left Maliyah and Aubrianna in their car seats for 90 minutes in the hot sun.

    “The worker was intending to go back and get (the two left behind), but she got distracted by something -- she doesn’t know what -- and then began to fill out some paperwork,” Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover said. “They put the children down for naps and did not notice the two missing at the time. Later, they realized it and found the children and began to attempt lifesaving procedures and called 911.”

    A Portales Police Department news release stated that around 3:25 p.m., emergency services were called for two children, who were having seizures. When emergency services arrived, they found that the kids were not breathing and they began life-saving attempts in hopes of reviving them. Two-year-old Aubrianna was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital in critical condition and survived her injuries but Maliyah wasn't so lucky. The 22-month-old succumbed to injuries from the heat that had been surrounding her for 90 minutes.

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  • The adult women were arrested on charges of child abuse resulting in the death of a child and child abuse causing great bodily harm.

    On Wednesday, the two appeared in a Roosevelt County courtroom for the first day of the trial, KCBD 11 reported. And on Thursday, prosecutors presented the 911 call and body camera footage taken by police officers at the scene as evidence of the crime. The video showed police finding Maliyah, who was dead, and attempting to revive Aubrianna, which was upsetting for both the jury and the families of the victims. 

    Five witnesses have taken the stand, including Maliyah and Aubrianna's mothers, as well as three police officers who responded to the incident. Everything Lubbock reported that the defense attorney for the women told the jury that he will prove that this incident was all just a tragic accident. But if he fails to do so, both women could face up to 18 years in prison. 

    The trial is expected to continue until February 7.

car seat safety safety child care child abuse