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Report: Child, 4, Dead After Left In Sweltering Child Care Van

TAMARAC (CBS4) - A tragedy unfolded in the parking lot of a Tamarac condominium complex Wednesday evening.

A call went out that a 4-year-old child was unresponsive.

Initially, law enforcement sources believed the child died of medical or natural causes.

However, our news partners at The Miami Herald tell CBS 4 News that the child died after being left in a hot van in 90-plus degree weather. The child's temperature spiked to more than 100 degrees.

The Miami Herald is reporting that the child who died is 4-year-old Jordan Coleman.

Additionally, The Herald is reporting that Coleman and 7 other children belonged to a Sunrise day care -- 3C's Day Academy -- and were brought to the condo complex because the day care owner was worried about losing her child care license for having too many children in her care.

The Herald says the daughter of the day care owner brought the children to the complex.

A resident, Mia Agnew, said she heard commotion outside her home and saw a young woman panicking while on the phone with 911.

Agnew, a former nurse, said she gave CPR to the boy but he never regained consciousness.

"Not while we were doing CPR," Agnew told CBS 4's Carey Codd. "It was very, very scary. I was terrified."

Agnew's daughter, Pandora, told CBS 4 News that she helped care for the other 7 children while paramedics worked on Coleman. Pandora Agnew said she asked one of the older boys what happened.

"The little boy begins to describe to me that he and his siblings were in the home here taking a nap and I said, 'Where was the other little boy?'" Pandora explained. "He said in the car."

No one answered the door at the day care center Thursday night and a woman who answered the phone said we had the wrong number.

The Miami Herald is reporting that Cecily Roberts is the owner of the facility and her daughter -- who took the children to the condo complex -- is Camile Gordon.

Reports from the Broward County Child Care Licensing and Enforcement Section indicate an ongoing series of problems at the day care center.

The most recent report from June 2012 show that the center was allowed to have 10 children. The report also shows that the center failed to comply on personnel training and several admission and record keeping issues. The facility passed a review but a follow-up visit was planned.

According to the Herald, since 2010, Roberts has been cited three times for running an over-capacity child care, and twice for leaving infants and toddlers in the care of her now-20-year-old daughter, who is below the age required to supervise a child care center. The center also had been reported to the Department of Children & Families on three occasions, including one verified report that youngsters were not being properly supervised.

The child care center's problems appear to have begun around October 2010, when Broward licensing administrators cited Roberts for leaving her then-18-year-old daughter, Camile Gordon, in charge of two children while she was away from the home. In that same inspection, Roberts was cited for failing to notify licensure authorities when a child in her care experienced a medical emergency. Under licensing rules, child care operators must file an incident report every time 911 is called.

An April 2011 inspection, the result of a complaint from an agency that works with children, concluded once again that 3C's had "exceeded" the staff-to-child ratio allowed. And again in August of that year, Roberts was cited when inspectors found eight children — the number would have been nine, had the mother of one child not left with her 2-year-old when the inspectors arrived — alone with only one caregiver.

A December 2011 inspection found "excessive clothing and other items tossed throughout the master bedroom that would present a serious danger to the children in care in the event of a fire." The most recent inspection, in June, found Roberts had failed to comply with four regulations, including record-keeping and proof that children had received physical exams.

Sources told The Miami Herald Thursday that Roberts was afraid child care inspectors would return to her home to ensure she had corrected the June deficiencies, and had asked her daughter to take the eight children away from the center so she didn't get caught over-capacity once again. Sources said the eight youngsters, including two infants, were placed in the SUV without car seats and driven to a Tamarac apartment complex where they spent the day. About two-and-a-half hours later, Camile Gordon discovered the 4-year-old passed out in the back of the car.

The Broward Sheriff's Office will only say they are working with the Medical Examiner's Office to determine how the child died.

Meanwhile people in this Tamarac neighborhood can only imagine the pain felt by the parents of little Jordan Coleman.

"They are distraught right now," Pandora Agnew said. "Absolutely distraught. They left their child in the hands of day care trusting they would provide good care for this child and they get a call saying come to the hospital."

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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