WEST JORDAN, Utah — A toddler suffocated at a Utah daycare center on Thursday when he crawled underneath a bean bag chair and an employee accidentally sat on top of him, according to police.
The incident took place at West Jordan Child Center on Redwood Road. The victim, Leonardo Sanchez, would have turned 2 years old on Sept. 17.
"He was a cute bundle of joy, he brought a lot of love," said Danielle Sanchez, Leonardo's mother.
Sanchez can't believe she will never tuck her son in with his favorite blanket ever again. She said her son was born to be the life of the party.
"Just always wanting to have a good time, he would take one little thing and turn it into an adventure," Sanchez said.
When she dropped Leonardo off at West Jordan Child Center Thursday morning, she could not have imagined it would be the last time she'd see him alive.
"It's a tragedy, it's a tragedy what happened," Sanchez said. "It's rough because you don't know when the last time is you are going to hold your child."
According to West Jordan Police, Leonardo was underneath a bean bag chair when a daycare employee accidentally sat on him while reading a book to the rest of the children. Police say he suffocated.
"It just baffles me, makes me wonder, she must not have felt him, she must not have heard him," Sanchez said.
Police are investigating video footage from inside the daycare. At this time, the employee is not facing any charges.
Sanchez believes this accident could have been prevented, and she is in the process of seeking legal representation.
"In my mind: My child is in your care, he suffocated under a bean bag, how does a 2-year-old, not even 2 yet, how does he get stuck under a bean bag? Something happened, I don't know what," Sanchez said.
The West Jordan Child Center released this statement:
“We regret deeply the tragic death of a young toddler at our daycare facility. No words adequately describe the depth of the sorrow we feel. And, of course, we do not pretend to understand how devastating this is for the family. We know the family well, we grieve with them, and we pray that God will provide them the comfort and peace they inevitably will need.”
Tom Hudachko, with the Utah Office of Children's Licensing, said this daycare has been in violation twice in the past five years.
One violation was for lack of supervision on their patio area, and the other time was for having a hole in the fence where a child could have escaped. They are currently investigating if any violations occurred during Leonardo's death.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up for the Sanchez family.
The family plans to hold Leonardo's funeral on his birthday. They are asking people to bring a birthday present, which will then be given to patients at a children's hospital. While the funeral will be open to members of the public, a specific time and location has not yet been determined.