Missouri day care under investigation after toddler found outside in the cold

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FARMINGTON, Mo. (KTVI) – A Missouri day care center is under investigation after a 3-year-old was found outside during freezing temperatures.

The Farmington Police Department opened an investigation into First Steps Daycare in Farmington after a parent reported seeing Avery Bishop outside crying.

“My child stuck outside in the snow, no jacket on, crying, holding her little hands and they didn’t even know she was missing,” said the toddler’s father, Matthew Bishop. “Temperature at the time it happened when the parent pulled up, was 23 (degrees), real feel outside was 0.”

On Friday, another parent said she arrived at the day care around 4:30 p.m. to pick up her child and heard another child faintly crying in the distance. The parent went inside, picked up her child and still heard the crying when she was getting back in her car.

After driving a few feet away from the day care center, she spotted 3-year-old Avery in her side mirror, crying at the side door of the center. The parent reportedly went back inside the day care and alerted the workers that Avery was outside.

Bishop said it’s not clear how long his daughter was outside in the cold, but the parent who spotted her told him she witnessed at least 20 minutes.

“[It’s] not a bad daycare, she’s been there since she was an infant, great people, wonderful people that love my daughter, I don’t believe this was malicious, it’s just a horrible, tragic event that could have been so much worse,” Bishop said. “The biggest issue is our child’s safety was at stake. We almost didn’t have her with us.”

Bishop said Avery did not receive any medical treatment.

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said his department contacted the Missouri Division of Family Services hotline to report the incident, and the division is conducting its own investigation as well.

Bishop said a DFS representative was scheduled to interview his daughter Wednesday.

He added that his family is looking for other day care options.

“We are having to look at other day cares, which is so scary as a parent,” Bishop said. “You’re like, ‘How can you ever trust anybody?’”

KTVI contacted the day care but did not immediately receive a response.

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