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Parents Seek Answers From Staten Island Daycare Center After 5-Month-Old Son's Death

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Did the actions of workers at a Staten Island daycare center contribute to a baby's death?

The child's parents are desperate for answers, but said they've been stonewalled by the center, reports CBS 2's Kristine Johnson.

"It hurts, it hurts," Jeanette Davila said. "I have to go see my son in the cemetery."

Jeanette and Oscar Davila said they're still numb with grief over the death of their 5-month-old son. Jeremy Davila was a happy, thriving baby who died suddenly in March.

"We're still in disbelief that this happened to him," Oscar said. "He was such a healthy boy."

The Davilas said the pain they feel is mixed with anger at the daycare center they took Jeremy to on the morning of his death. There's still a lot they don't know about how Jeremy died, and they said no one at the center will tell them just what happened that day.

"We have questions, and we need answers," Jeanette said.

On the morning of March 25, Oscar dropped Jeremy off at the Kiddie Academy in Staten Island.

At about 3 p.m., Jeanette called the daycare center to check in on Jeremy, and was told everything was fine. However, her husband received a call from a worker at the center three hours later – Jeremy was having trouble breathing.

"We didn't know what to think," Oscar said.

By the time the Davilas got to the hospital, it was too late. Jeremy was dead.

"All eyes were on me, so I had a feeling," Jeanette said. "Everyone stopped because mom was coming in, and they had to tell me the horrible news that Jeremy passed away."

The Davilas were stunned when told there was no written report. Daycare workers said there hadn't even been an incident, and that Jeremy's death could not have been prevented.

"They didn't want to give us anything in writing," Oscar said. "They claimed that nothing had happened, that it was inevitable."

However, records piece together a troubling picture of the last hours of Jeremy's life. The center's own log shows that Jeremy was put down for a nap at 2:30 p.m.

The Davilas said that Jeremy never slept for more than an hour, but according to a report, it wasn't until 5:40 p.m. – more than three hours later – that a worker checked on him.

By then, Jeremy was "unresponsive" and "not breathing."

Jeanette had been told everything was fine when she'd called earlier, but records show a daycare worker told an EMT that Jeremy wasn't feeling well and that he had been crying.

"That was a cry for help," Jeanette said.

"Some of the things that went on here are simply beyond comprehension," the family's attorney, Marc Albert, said. "How did nobody take a look at this kid for three hours and ten minutes, especially when they knew he was sick?"

Albert said it gets even worse. Daycare centers are required by law to have a staff member trained in CPR on the premises at all times. The police report, though, reveals that it was another mother picking up her child who performed CPR, and the 911 call wasn't made for at least 18 minutes after Jeremy was found.

"From the time the child was fed until the time he died, every step of the way there were problems," Albert said. "Every step of the way, there were things that should have been done that weren't done."

CBS 2 reached out to Kiddie Academy for their side of the story, but the daycare center said that an appointment was required. When CBS 2 tried to make an appointment, the daycare center hung up the phone.

The Davlias said they believe Jeremy would not have died if the facility had done its job.

"I think Jeremy would've still been here with us, absolutely," Oscar said. "There is no question in my mind that he still would've been here with us."

The Davilas said they will not stop trying to find out just what happened to Jeremy, and they're speaking out to try to prevent any family from suffering as they have.

"We have a great loss in our life now," Oscar said. "It's going to last forever, this pain."

"It's sad that my son had to pay the price, but we're hoping that people are aware and that daycare providers are more careful," Jeanette said.

Jeanette Davila filed a complaint with the State Register of Child Abuse.

In response, the city Administration for Children's Services launched an investigation. The city Health Department also opened an investigation after the death was reported to them by the daycare center.

Kiddie Academy is a franchise with several centers in the area. The center in this report is located on Staten Island.

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