Toddler walks out of daycare, mother questions facility procedures


POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 10:13pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 2:43pm

A Las Cruces daycare is under fire after a mother says her little boy wandered off on his own under their care and now the family is planning legal action.

Nikki Padilla holds her son closely, visibly and is upset and wondering how he managed to walk out of this daycare on his own. "I thought my son was wandering around the street, going to hit by a car, and I was going to find my son dead," Padilla tells us.

The Las Cruces woman says she was going to pick up her son Frankie on Monday night, only to find a surprised look on the daycare employee's face. "She goes, well he left with someone, someone picked him up and I started panicking, like what do you mean someone picked him up?"

But the owners of Kid's Kountry Daycare tell a different story. "It's just an unfortunate situation that the child must have gotten out with some other family," Greg Sowards, the co-owner of the facility claims.

They say employees noticed he was missing and were already searching for the boy before Padilla came to pick him up. Regardless of what happened-- he walked out and Nichole Romo, Nikki's neighbor and friend, took care of him. "I saw him sitting in front of his door crying and crying with all his diapers and everything out of his bag," Nichole Romo says.

The toddler's mother says he walked all the way from Kid's Kountry daycare to his home, which is right around the corner. But for the 3-year-old little boy in a 102-degree weather, he got dehydrated. "He was real red, real red," Romo adds.

"I was relieved but at the same time I was angry, I was hurt, because I thought someone had kidnapped my son," Padilla explains.

24 hours later, Frankie is in good spirits but his mother is still upset. "I want them to be more careful. I need them to pay attention… I don't want this to happen to anyone else. It's the worst feeling ever," she tells us.

"I think a scare like this definitely, everybody then is up to make sure this never happens again," Sowards says.

Nikki Padilla says her son does have sensory issues and may be autistic, but Kid's Kountry claims that's something she never told them. Padilla is planning to speak to an attorney about this incident. The State of New Mexico is also investigating.

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