TRENTON, N.J. - April 7, 2010 (WPVI) -- A van driver and an aide have been charged with child neglect after a boy was left in a hot van for nearly five hours in Trenton, New Jersey on Tuesday.
They have been identified as 57-year-old Michael Walker, the driver, and 20-year-old Julia Devalle, the aide.
The boy left behind is Ty'on Moore, 2, who suffers from chronic asthma and seizures. He attends the Pediatric Day Health Center at Millhouse, a school for children who have medical needs.
He was picked up at 8:30 Tuesday morning by an On Time Transport Inc. van, which is operated by Walker and Devalle, who are supposed to be watching over the kids as they ride to and from the daycare.
Police say Walker and Devalle picked up multiple children Tuesday morning, including Ty'on. When they arrived at the health center at 9:20 a.m., police say they walked the other children inside, but Ty'on was left behind.
Upon returning to the van at approximately 2:05 p.m., police say Walker discovered that Ty'on was still in the child seat located in the last row of the van.
The child was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for severe dehydration but otherwise said to be okay.
Meanwhile, the boy's relatives are at a loss to understand how he was left in the van for 5 hours and nobody noticed.
"I just thank God, you know, that it didn't turn out as bad as it could have," said Charlene Robinson, the boy's grandmother. "We could be on our way to a funeral home right now."
Relatives say school officials told them that the aide, who happened to be a substitute on Tuesday, is supposed to conduct a checklist of every child who goes on the bus and gets off.
"There is a routine that is followed as an aide, for an aide on a bus when it comes to children, and it seems to me that a light bulb should have went off in somebody's head," said JoAnne Craig, his aunt.
"Somebody didn't do their job this morning and it could have cost him his life," Robinson said.