Investigation underway into OKC daycare after child wanders away

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Department of Human Service is investigating a daycare after a child wandered away.

The incident happened Thursday when the five-year-old walked out of Childcare Network #203.

“I started to get out of my car and I was like, 'Are you okay? Are you okay?' and he ran from me,” said Mindi Blanchard.

Blanchard was leaving her job in northwest Oklahoma City when she noticed the young boy alone.

“As I was leaving, I saw a little boy running. He didn't have a jacket or anything on, and it was bitter yesterday,” Blanchard said.

Thursday's temperature around 5 p.m. was 21 degrees with a wind chill of 5 degrees.

“I finally just yelled things at him. Something that I said was, 'Where's your mom?' and it made him stop and look at me and I was able to catch him,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard said her motherly instincts just kicked in.

“Just frozen, I mean the dried frozen snot crying tears all over him,” Blanchard said.

However, before Blanchard could warm him up, she said an employee from the daycare facility ran out.

“Jerked him from my arms abruptly, and roughly, and started screaming at him, 'How did you get out? Why are you not listening?' and I was just stunned standing there,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard said she called police, but the daycare and the officer didn't question her or even ask for her name.

Childcare Network did send us statement confirming a five-year-old walked away from the daycare.

"The safety and security of our children is our number one concern. Yesterday, a five-year-old child walked from our cafeteria and followed a parent exiting the building. That parent did not realize he had followed her, and actually was the person who came in to tell us that he was outside by the playground fence. In that time, a woman saw him and went to assist him. Our administrator, having been alerted, went to them outside to bring him back in, took him inside and called to inform his mother and then self-reported it to DHS. He was outside approximately 1-3 minutes according to our investigation. We have terminated the teacher who was supervising this group of children in the cafeteria and will work with DHS as they continue to investigate and give guidance. We take our responsibility very seriously." - Michelle Jones

Blanchard said she just wants something done to prevent this from happening again.

“If no one knows, no one corrects it. If they brush it under the rug, this could happen to another kid. That would be horrible,” Blanchard said.

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