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Miami toddler found dead in day care van that was not authorized to transport children

MIAMI - A “closed” sign was posted on the door of Vision for Life Academy day care center Thursday morning, a day after a 2-year-old boy was found unresponsive inside a van that was not registered to transport children. He was later pronounced dead.

An official from the Florida Department of Children and Families told 7News that the academy was not authorized to transport children, and now they have shut the academy down.

Some parents, like Jessica Lewis, were seen taking their children out of the day care center. “I came here to take my child out,” said Lewis. “They’re not coming back to this school. My child was on that bus. That really could’ve been my child! It gets me so emotional.”

Investigators said the 2-year-old child, Angel Matute Chavez, was found just before 2 p.m. in the rear compartment of the white van by day care workers.

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Officials said the child showed no signs of life once paramedics arrived at the scene. They immediately began to administer CPR.

7News cameras captured a large police presence as crime scene investigators set up a perimeter.

The child was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Miami Police confirmed the boy’s death at around 8 p.m.

Surveillance footage obtained exclusively by 7News shows the van dropping children off at the day care center, then pulling into the parking lot, just after 8 a.m., Wednesday.

The van labeled “Reaching Children for Christ Academy,” remained in that spot all day. Then 911 dispatch received a call. “I walked passed the bus,” Lewis said. “The bus was right there, and I walked passed it, so you’re telling me the whole time there was a child in there? Like, that makes you feel bad.”

According to an inspection report from July, there was no transportation provided from the academy and none observed on the site.

Now DCF said the day care center in no longer operational. “I don’t understand how you can leave a child on a bus like that,” said one woman, “and with teachers, I say check behind yourself.”

“There was a call that took place, just before 4 o’clock this afternoon, when we were dispatched to a child that was not breathing,” said Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll. “Little boy, inside a van, unresponsive.”

The video shows a man coming out to the curb on Seventh Avenue, sitting down and then waving a piece of cloth or shirt to flag down the first responders. It’s unclear what connection the man has to the day care center, if any.

“The question is ‘What happened?’ What happened with the child? Where the child was found,” said Carroll. “It’s a very devastating moment that has taken place right now.”

As a mother, Lewis said the situation makes her very upset. “You think about it. My child goes to that school,” she said. “I cried. I’m angry. This is upsetting to any parent.”

The little boy is the fifth child to die in a hot vehicle in Florida this year.

An employee confirmed the day care center will be closed all day Thursday. However, since the day care has since been shut down, parents need to find a new day care provider.

Both the DCF and Miami PD are investigating this case.

No arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed, as of Thursday.

For more Miami stories go to WSVN.

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