A little girl at the age of three was sitting alone on a bench, locked inside a daycare in Salem, Missouri.
On Aug. 20, around 5:30 p.m., Felicia McFarland, the mother, went to the Salem Christian Church Daycare to pick her daughter up, News 4 reported.
She pulled, knocked, and banged on the door, yelling “Piper!”
But no one answered. She had no idea where her little girl was.
McFarland called her friend to see if she had picked up Piper, but her friend said she hadn’t.
She then went on to call the Dent County Police and the director of the daycare to open the doors for her.
“I was crushed to think what is going through her little mind,” said McFarland, ”that somebody just left her and didn’t realize that she was here.”
“She was just sitting there on the bench and she was terrified,” said McFarland.
Now that Piper is safe in her mother’s arms, the Dent Police and Missouri’s Department of Social Services have started an investigation.
McFarland feels that someone has to be held accountable for what happened and that they shouldn’t get away with a slap on the wrist.
Since the start of the investigation, the employee responsible for forgetting about Piper and locking her in has been fired, said McFarland to News 4.
“She got fired, that’s great,” said McFarland.
David Beeson, a board member of the Salem Christian Church Daycare, gave an update on what the church is currently doing to amend the issue.
“We’ve got a lot of questions ourselves and we’re just trying to figure them out ourselves,” said Beeson.
The church’s pastor, Tim Hill, said that they were actively gathering information.
Not only is McFarland considering filing a civil lawsuit against the Church, she is also considering filing a suit against the negligent employee who left Piper inside.
According to Missouri state law, this incident may or may not fall under section 7, chapter 30 of the Child Neglect law.
This law comes into effect when those who are responsible for care fail to provide the care, custody, and control of the child. Or anything else that affects the child’s well-being.
A subsection within this law is “Lack of Supervision.” There are two forms of a lack of supervision, “inattentive parenting,” and “left home alone.”
Inattentive parenting is when a parent is at home with the child but is apathetic and detached.
Left home alone isn’t always punished as sometimes the parent needs to leave their child behind due to a lack of finances or child care resources.
Although it’s a daycare worker instead of a parent in this particular incident, the same law applies as long as it is someone who is responsible for providing care to the child.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The national hotline is available 24/7 at (1-800) 4-A-Child or (1-800) 422-4453