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 02/13 2016 01:05PM

A family member says a 3-year old boy is in critical condition after being rescued from Thatcher Brook in Waterbury. 

Vermont State Police say Parker James Berry wandered away from his daycare facility Thursday.

In a phone interview Friday afternoon, a family member said 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. 

Dillon said every call is tough, and even worse when a child is involved. 

"Children haven't had the opportunity to live," Dillon added.

Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, a family member said 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 the Vermont Department for Children and Families. 

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," said Murphy.

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 and they declined to make a comment. 

Vermont State Police is part of the joint investigation and is looking into the circumstances surrounding this situation.

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