MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The owner of a former Miami-Dade daycare center charged in the death of a child who was left in a hot van five years ago has reached a plea agreement.
Karen Aviles, who had been charged with manslaughter, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months in prison followed by 10 years probation.
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His lawyer, Simon Steckel, said it was a sad day for everyone. He said Aviles was responsible for the death of two-year-old Angel Matute Chavez simply because she owned Vision For Life Academy.
“My client was essentially held responsible for this death because she owned the school rather than having culpable negligence for what happened,” he said.
Steckel said Aviles was driving the van that carried a group of children that day, but she was not the one who unloaded them when they arrived at daycare.
Police say Aviles rushed out of the van because she was late for a meeting and asked another employee to unload the children. All of the other children, including Angel’s brother, got out of the van, however, Angel was in it for over six hours.
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The boy was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he died. An autopsy of the child revealed the cause of death to be heat stroke.
“If you analyze the facts of this case, I think there is someone else out there, who will remain anonymous, who is really and factually responsible for this death who has not been prosecuted and will not be not prosecuted,” Steckel said.
I do not believe in any way, shape or form that my client was liable, however, we understand that is my opinion and that a jury or judge may have a different opinion,” he added.
The Vision For Life Academy was shut down by the Florida Department of Children and Families days after the boy’s death.
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The daycare was not authorized to transport children.