DALLAS (CBS 11 News) – It is a numbness to everything around them right now. Bryant and Melanie Price sat quietly inside their Mesquite apartment. The window blinds were shuttered. There wasn’t a light on in the unit. “To get a call that something has happened to your baby, it’s heart-stopping”, Bryant Price said, sitting next to his wife. The couple is in the midst of family grief. Their 3-year old son Benjamin was found July 20 unconscious inside the daycare transport van. Benjamin had been left in the van inadvertently by a care center worker. He died from apparent heat exposure. The child may have been in the van for three hours. The temperature outside surpassed the 100-degree mark. After investigating the toddler’s death, Dallas police arrested Erica Hooks. Hooks is an employee of T’s Tiny Tots Child Care Center in Pleasant Grove. Detectives believe she drove 16 children to a movie July 20.
Upon return, Hooks told detectives, she may have “miscounted” when she tallied the number of children exiting the van. It wasn’t until 5pm when workers realized Benjamin was missing. They found him in the van. He was pronounced dead at Baylor Hospital. “I just pray and hope no one else has to go through this”, Melanie Price said. “Benjamin should be the last child left in a van. Something must be put in place to stop this from happening again”, she said.
The couple said they offered no ill will toward the owners of the daycare center, but they believe the accountability of caring for children must be raised to a higher standard.
Benjamin Price will be laid to rest on Saturday.