A 19-year-old woman has been charged with the death of a 4-year-old boy who was left sleeping in a sweltering SUV while under the care of a Sunrise day care center last month.
His body temperature reportedly rose to 108 degrees Fahrenheit when doctors examined him at Coral Springs Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to documents read in court Thursday by Broward County Judge John "Jay" Hurley.
Paris Ward, of Miramar, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of Jordan Coleman and was ordered held on $10,000 bond during her first appearance court hearing Thursday.
Ward audibly whimpered throughout the hearing while her tearful mother sat silently in the courtroom.
According to an arrest warrant, Ward is accused of leaving the boy unattended inside the parked 2002 Toyota Sequoia for several hours in the hot sun on Aug. 1. The SUV that belonged to the 3 C's Day Academy of Sunrise was at a Tamarac apartment complex.
During Ward's first appearance hearing Hurley said that Ward dialed 911 at 4:25 p.m. that day and told the dispatcher that there was an unconscious student outside the Versailles apartment complex. Jordan was under her care.
Camille Gordon, the day care operator's daughter, performed CPR on Jordan, Hurley said, as he read from an arrest affidavit.
After the incident, Miyoshi Agnew, a resident of the complex, told the Sun Sentinel that the boy was pulled from the vehicle and was lying unresponsive on a patch of grass. She also tried to revive him using CPR, but was unsuccessful, she said.
Ward's attorney, Derek Lewis, told Hurley that his client was not an employee of 3 C's Day Academy when Jordan died. The day care has previously been cited and has a history of problems over safety concerns. It has been shut down.
"Ms. Ward herself was never cited for anything," Lewis said, "She doesn't pose a danger to the community, your Honor. She has no criminal history, no history of violence, no history of anything whatsoever considering she's just 19 years-old and just graduated [high school]."
Following the hearing, Lewis did not disclose Ward's relation to the day care center and said he was still investigating the case.
However, a bondsman and family friend, Darryl Allen, said Ward was Gordon's friend and was simply doing volunteer work before heading off to college.
3 C's Day Academy had previously been cited for leaving children in the care of Gordon, 20. The minimum age of 21 is required to act as a substitute for the day care operator, Cecily Roberts, also Gordon's mother.
"It appears this is really tantamount to just extreme, gross negligence, at a minimum, which allegedly caused the death of the child," Hurley said, "And what's unfortunate is that it does appear that Ms. Ward and the others at the day care center knew of this dangerous situation and they had been warned and cited, I believe, in the past regarding these matters."
About 11:20 a.m. Thursday, at the Sunrise home that doubled as the day care, a driver sat in a red Ford sedan parked in the driveway. The man, who declined to give his name, said the day care had remained closed since Jordan's death.
Jordan's great-grandfather, Willie Coleman, who lives a few doors away from the former Sunrise day care, said relatives were "just finding out" about the arrest in Jordan's death.
"So we have no comment to make at this time," Coleman said, adding that Jordan's relatives "need a little more time" before talking about Thursday's development.
Jordan's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Broward County against 3 C's Day Academy. It states that the center's operator, Cecily Roberts, accepted too many children to supervise and allegedly feared inspectors would visit the day Jordan died.
Family and friends held a "Crossover Celebration" for Jordan at the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale and his funeral on Aug. 11.
Jordan was described as a happy boy who prayed nightly for his parents and carried pocketfuls of candy and toys.
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