Breaking News
More () »

'Angry as hell': Family looking for answers after 3-year-old was missing from daycare without anyone noticing

A family in Columbia is counting blessings and asking questions as to an ordeal that left their 3-year-old out on the street when she was at a day care.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 3-year-old in Columbia wandered off from daycare and was found walking through a four-way intersection by neighbors.

Terrifying moments for Dionne Sanders as she got a call about her granddaughter Ari. Earlier in the day, Ari was dropped off at V.V. Reid's child care, where she somehow managed to get off the property and into the surrounding streets.

"Ari had left the day care and was walking down the street, had walked several blocks, knocking on door, no one answered luckily. There was a neighbor that saw her walking, he said that he noticed her for about twenty minutes walking down the street."

That man was Kenneth Williams, who lives down the street. He didn't want his face shown on television but described getting a call about Ari from another neighbor.

"I came outside and went to the fence and I seen her, the little child just walking up and down the street."

Taking the same trip Ari took down Gabriel Road, it's like many other residential streets, with homes, and lawns, but without a sidewalk. Along the side of the road, were brush piles, ditches, and glass bottles. Then comes the four-way intersection between Gabriel and Luke streets.

According to neighbors, Ari spent close to 20 minutes walking around this area. Then, she turned left and headed a few houses down Luke Street where she was eventually taken into the care of a neighbor. 

According to the Columbia Police Department, officers were able to pick up Ari and return her to the daycare, where they allegedly didn't know she was gone.

Her family is now asking how she could be gone for so long without anyone from the daycare noticing or finding her. 

Her great-grandmother Virginia voiced her frustration. "Because you pay to put your child in a day care center, and then you find out that they're not supervising and watching the child."

Still, through it all, Ari's family remains thankful nothing serious happened to the 3-year-old. 

"We can call it what it is, a blessing." Virginia testifies, "The hand of our creator was protecting that child," Dionne said.

The Sanders family said Ari is doing fine after she was taken to the hospital to get checked out, saying she thankfully did not get injured in the ordeal.

Bianca Shelton, a spokesperson for V.V. Reid at The Crawford Austin Agency, said in a statement, "This morning a child enrolled in the summer program at VV Reid School walked off of school property. The child returned to school property safe and without incident. All school protocols were followed." 

"We are still conducting our internal investigation. We are working on releasing more information later," she added.

Before You Leave, Check This Out