DCF Investigating Possible Drowning of Toddler

DCF Investigating Possible Drowing, 3 Year Old Boy Still Recovering at Hospital

By Rene Thibault | rthibault@nexstar.tv

Published 02/12 2016 07:31PM

Updated 02/12 2016 07:31PM

A family member telling us a 3-year old boy is in critical condition after he was rescued from the Thatcher Brook in Waterbury.  Vermont State Police say he wandered away from his daycare facility, Thursday.

A family friend told us over the phone, they think this was quote "100-percent avoidable and never should've taken place."

"Our call was to initially respond with the ambulance for a child that had been found in the water for an unknown amount of time," said Waterbury Fire Chief Gary Dillon.  He says every call is tough, it's even worse when a child is involved.  "Children haven't had the opportunity to live," he added.

Just after 4:00 Thursday afternoon, a family friend tells us 3 year old Parker James Berry wandered away from Elephant in the Field day care, on Guptil road in Waterbury.  Police say he was discovered missing when his family arrived to pick him up.  The boy was found floating in a partially-frozen Thatcher Brook.  "One of the people that was there started CPR, responders took over and minutes later the ambulance arrived and they took over care," said Chief Dillon.

The child was transported to a nearby hospital, then moved to UVM Medical Center.  "Our first concern is always for the child and their family," said Reeva Murphy Deputy Commissioner of DCF's (Department of Children and Families) Division of Child Development.  The agency is involved in a joint investigation to find out how the boy got separated from the rest of the kids.  "If we find any major violations we go back quite a bit until those are corrected.  If we find any immediate dangers we would suspend," she said.

Elephant in the Field was closed Friday.  Established in 2012, DCF's child care information system shows it is a registered facility with no prior complaints or violations.

"I do want to say this doesn't mean child care is not safe.  Child care is safe, and good child care is fabulous.  It's our job to make sure child care is safe, and parents help us with that," Murphy said.

We did reach out to the owners of Elephant in the Field they declined to make a comment.  Vermont State Police is part of the joint investigation and are looking into the circumstances surrounding this situation.

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