• Mother of child found dead in daycare van speaks out

    By: Lauren Coleman


    WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - Ashley Smith is searching for answers after her 5-year-old son was found dead inside of a hot van on Monday. 

    "My heart hurts. I can't see my child again. I'm walking around with one kid. I had two. My soul hurts." 

    5-year-old Christopher Gardner, Jr. was a student at Ascent Child Services in West Memphis.

    He was left inside a school van for more than 8 hours.

    >>Family identifies 5-year-old found dead in daycare van 

    According the police report, it was a 141 degrees inside the van with an outside temperature of 90. 

    Smith says the school needs to be held accountable. 

    "I didn't hear from them. I didn't have no apologies or anything. I just was like 'I don't get an apology? I don't get a why?'" said Smith. "I just feel like justice needs to be served, and they need to be shut down, because they had my son on there. I don't care if it was anyone else's child. They need to be shut down. It just was mines."  

    Smith said the child attended the school since he was 1 due to a heart condition. She said her son was put on the van around 6:30 a.m. and that the school failed to follow procedure. 

    "It only takes 2 minutes to check a van. My son wouldn't even been dead. He would be in there asking me for cookies," said the mother. 

    >>DHS: Daycare van had alarm system, should have been able to prevent boy's death 

    Five people could be facing charges for Christopher's death including the driver who the mother said was her son's favorite. 

    "Why didn't you just do your part? You saw me put my son on that van," said Smith. "His whole family torn apart, because of someone else's careless mistakes." 


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