WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It still hurts. For Katie Muhammad, it always will.
"I was very content having my preschools. I went by the Boynton location the other day and it just brought back when I was in that door and the children would just run up to me. I miss that a lot," said an emotional Muhammad.
On August 5, 2010, everything Muhammad built as a preschool owner crashed down when she learned one of her students had, unintentionally, been left behind on one of her school vans.
By the time 2 1/2 year old Haile Brockington was found, her lifeless body was hot, sweaty and still strapped to the car seat.
Muhammad has yet to talk to Haile’s mom. She knows what she would tell her.
"I'm sorry and there are no words I can say to bring her back but whatever I can do to make it better, that's what I want to do."
She’s starting to. After the tragedy, Muhammad shut down all 4 of her schools, she lost her home and her car. Now 24 months later, Muhammad is finding purpose again.
"That's what keeps me going every day is to try and make Haile proud of me and to try and make sure no deaths like Haile happen again."
Last year, Palm Beach County leaders passed a rule requiring most buses and vans that transport children be equipped with child safety alarms.
The measure was passed in honor of Haile, Muhammad wants it nationwide.
"I also think that preschool staff and preschool owners need to be better trained because it keeps happening," she said.
Muhammad is in process of developing her own version of the alarm.
A new mission for a former childcare owner altered by tragedy but determined to try to protect.
"My goal now is to make sure the laws are changed for the benefit of the children."
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