GAINESVILLE, Va. - A Gainesville daycare director is facing charges of neglect after a 3-year-old girl allegedly left the facility unnoticed and walked to a nearby business.
"I was not aware of that, no one told me about it. Unless I missed an email, that was sent out, but I'm now concerned, I'm speechless," Marcella Taborga, a parent from the daycare said.
The incident happened on November 19 around 8:30 p.m. after police say a business owner called to report a toddler had walked into their building without a guardian and that they were unable to locate the child's family.
Employees of a nearby Papa Johns confirmed to FOX 5 that they were the business that the child had walked into when it was pitch black out. One of them called 911 after being unable to figure out whose child she was.
Police arrived and found that the child had left the nearby Kiddie Academy of Gainesville. 23-year-old Nayoung Park, the director of the daycare, was determined to be the primary care taker at the time of the incident.
Park was charged with felony child neglect on November 29 and turned herself in without incident the following day. She was released on bond.
The child was not harmed and was released to the custody of a family member.
Kiddie Academy released the following statement:
"Due to an unfortunate incident where a child left the premises unsupervised during Date Night on Saturday, November 19, Our Director, was placed on indefinite administrative leave from the Kiddie Academy of Gainesville. The academy also self-reported the incident to the state child care licensing body. Because the academy has a policy of open communication, every parent was notified by email about this incident. While the incident was unprecedented at the Kiddie Academy of Gainesville, we take the safety and care of all our students seriously, and we were relieved that the child was safely returned to the parents without harm.
The Directors' tenure here was predicated by all qualifications required by the state, and she exceeded the rigorous standards we keep for our staff. We will cooperate with the investigation following the charges filed against her. The Kiddie Academy of Gainesville will continue to comply with all state and educational licensing standards and requirements, putting the safety of the children in our care at the forefront of all of our activities."