LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – A Las Cruces mother told ABC-7 her toddler was locked up and left behind.
“One of a parent’s worst nightmares I think is to see your child locked inside of a building where you have no access,” said Dalila Torres.
A busy nursing student, Torres said she fell asleep after doing her homework. She admitted to sleeping in and waking up past the daycare’s deadline to pick up her daughter.
“As soon as I woke up, I told my boyfriend, ‘Oh my God, we need to go get Aurora.'”
Torres said her boyfriend arrived first at Kids Kountry Place. He told her there were no other cars in the parking lot and that the building had been locked.
Then, he saw Aurora approach the door.
“She’s at the door, with her hands up, just this horrified, terrified look on her face,” Torres said.
Because Aurora did not appear to be in immediate danger, she called 9-1-1 instead of breaking a window. Upon arrival, a firefighter was able to gain access to the building through an open window and rescue the child, according to police.
“She just came running straight to me crying, would not let me go,” Torres said. “Didn’t want to see anyone, didn’t want anyone to touch her.”
The owner of Kids Kountry Place initially declined to comment, but approached ABC-7 on the sidewalk.
“There’s no excuse for what happened. I’m not saying there’s an excuse for it,” said Karen Sowards, the owner. “But it did happen, and we’re just going to have to move forward.
Sowards said the employees responsible quit after the incident. She also said that in 32 years of business, this has never happened.
“I don’t know what we can do to go backwards,” Sowards said. “We just need to go forwards and try to improve our protocols for preventing things from happening.”