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WEST MEMPHIS, AR – A 5-year-old boy with development issues died after being left in a van for eight hours at a children’s health clinic.

At 6:40 a.m. Monday, a van from Ascent Children’s Health Services picked up 5-year-old Christopher Gardner Jr. from his family’s home.

Gardner, whose had two heart surgeries and suffers from development issues, has been going to the facility for the last four years.

According to the facility’s website, they provide “quality outpatient and day treatment services to children and their families that are in need of mental health or developmental care.”

After arriving at the facility at 7:15 a.m., two adults on the van signed Gardner and the other children into the Ascent facility.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Gardner was found dead inside the van eight hours later, still sitting in his booster seat.

Temperatures hit 80 degrees that day, which means the temperature in the van to rise to at least 114 degrees after only 30 minutes of Gardner being in the van. Eventually, the temperature in the van would have hit at least 141 degrees.

The boy’s family, along with police, have a lot of questions for Ascent, including how a child can be left on a bus for eight hours after being signed into the building. The answer to that questions id pretty obvious, especially to Gardner’s great grandmother.

“They didn’t get off their, excuse my language, off their ass and look,” said Carrie Smith. “You can see that my great grandbaby suffered in that van.”

The Department of Human Services is also investing and say the facility has only had three minor citations in the last four years, and none of them were transportation related.

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