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Toddler dies after going missing from B.C. daycare, found in swimming pool

Last Updated May 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm PDT

MISSION, B.C. – A 23-month-old child has died in Mission, B.C., after she was reported missing from a daycare and found unresponsive in a swimming pool at a neighbouring property.

The RCMP say they were called by the owner of the daycare at about 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday.

“The loss of a loved one is always an extremely difficult time, but it touches everyone much harder when it is a child, and our thoughts go out to the family, and all of those involved,” Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford said in a news release Thursday.

The caller estimated it has been about 10 minutes since the girl was last seen, RCMP said.

After a search of the daycare and neighbouring properties, police found the girl unresponsive in a large in-ground swimming pool.

After resuscitation efforts that included the use of a portable defibrillator carried by police, the girl was rushed to Mission Memorial Hospital, where the Mounties say she was pronounced dead.

The coroner’s service and Fraser Health say they are also investigating the girl’s death.

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said in an emailed statement that the agency immediately suspended the licence for Melissa’s Bright Beginnings Childcare Center.

The daycare manager identified in an inspection report did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Juma said the facility was licensed in September 2017. A routine first inspection was done Jan. 10, which found several violations under regulations governing in-home daycares for children of multiple ages. The report gave the licensee up to eight days to take corrective action.

Following the inspection, the daycare followed up in writing confirming that it had addressed all the violations, Juma said.

The inspection report posted online says five children under the age of 36 months were present at the time. A licensing regulation permits three children under that age and the operator had an approved temporary placement for one additional child and planned to submit a request for a second temporary placement, says the report.

The report also says the daycare operator’s early childhood education certificate lapsed two months earlier. The operator said she had applied for renewal of the certificate and “advised that she has a sub available” with a current certificate who was employed three days a week at the daycare, which the inspector confirmed.

The report says there were eight children at the daycare at the time of the inspection and it had 10 children enrolled.

The inspection also mentioned “supervision challenges” due to the layout of the space, but they were not listed as violations in the report.

“Rooms are divided by walls making direct line of vision not possible,” the licensing officer wrote in the report’s introduction.

The licensee said it was her “typical practice to keep the group together when transitioning from one area to another — e.g. play area to the eating area and that she will be vigilant in maintaining this practice.”