37-year-old Sonja P. Anderson, a day care center director in Tampa, Florida, has been arrested on charges of child neglect. The Florida criminal charges were filed against Anderson after a 3-year-old child in her car was left in a van outside the Children’s Adventure Center. Police stated this was the second time the same boy had been left in a van outside the center. The first incident involved another employee at the center and is still under investigation. The 3-year-old boy was picked up by Anderson around 8 a.m and brought him to the center. After arriving at the center, Anderson locked the child in the van, went inside the center and signed a check-in log. Around 11 a.m. a county child care licensing inspector arrived and discovered the 3-year-old still in the van. Anderson told police she did not remember what she did after leaving the child inside the van and entering the center. The inspector came to the center as a follow up on the first incident of leaving the child, which occurred during the first week in February 2011. The complaint was filed on February 9 after the same boy was left inside a van for 45 minutes. The complaint also revealed that the child was not being transported in a child car seat / child seat and that the center did not keep logs of the children who were transported in the van. Luckily, the young boy, identified as Jusean Henderson, was unharmed each time. For more read Tampa, Florida day care director arrested after leaving child in van for 3 hours.
This child could have suffered serious, if not permanent, personal injuries from hyperthermia (otherwise known as “heat exhaustion”). Temperatures inside a vehicle can increase rapidly. Also, a child’s body is not as capable of adapting to temperature changes as an adult’s body, thus making children more susceptible to heat stroke or other heat-related personal injuries.
As with any other Florida criminal case, the Defendant will be entitled to legal representation by a Florida criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office if she qualifies for such legal services.