Police charge day-care operator in death of 2-year-old boy left in sweltering van

Miami-Dade County Corrections

Miami police detectives on Saturday arrested the owner of the day care where a toddler died in a sweltering transport van.

Karen Julissa Aviles, 36, was charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of 2-year-old Angel Matute-Chavez.

The arrest came three days after Angel was mistakenly left for at least six hours inside the van operated by the Vision of Life Academy, 4150 NW Seventh Ave. The day care was not registered to transport children, and Aviles has since surrendered her state license to operate the business.

Law-enforcement sources have told the Miami Herald that Aviles was the driver who picked up a group of children Wednesday morning, including Angel and his 8-year-old brother. When the van arrived at the day care, Aviles told police, she rushed out because she was late to a meeting and asked another employee to get the children.

Angel somehow stayed inside the van, even though his older brother made it inside the building. When an employee found Angel inside the van, it was almost 4 p.m.

Paramedics found Angel, bleeding from the nose and ears. An autopsy determined that he died from heatstroke.

Transporting children to and from day care is supposed to be strictly regulated. State regulations require drivers to keep logs detailing when each child gets in and out of the vehicle, as well as logs attesting to visual inspections after the kids are all dropped off.

Under the regulations, a second employee is also supposed to “conduct a physical inspection and visual sweep of the vehicle to ensure that no child is left in the vehicle.”

Related stories from Miami Herald