Things That Matter

Family Demands Answers After Daughter Inexplicably Dies at Day Care

A Clifton, New Jersey, family has been devastated by the death of their 21-month-old daughter, who went down for a nap at Step By Step Daycare and never woke up. Although paramedics were called and resuscitation attempts were made, baby Vanessa Camila Gomez ultimately died from still undetermined causes, reports ABC7NY.

Her mother Isabel Negrete claims she was getting regular updates on Vanessa through an app called Brightwheel, and that Step By Step staff confirmed that Vanessa had woken up and had her diaper changed; although the confirmation disappeared from the app the next day.

Step By Step Daycare owner Diovana Rusin told the outlet, “There was no diaper change, the time was wrong.” According to MSN, Step By Step has thus far refused to comply with investigators and has gone as far as to delete all video footage of the toddler on the day of her death from Brightwheel.

Frank Leddy, the attorney currently representing Negrete, implied there’s more to the story when he asked, “Why was she told she woke up and got changed?”

He continued, “We’re trying to help the family because they’re absolutely devastated. They’re not going to be able to move on with their grieving process until they get answers. They do what all parents do. You drop your kids off and you don’t think twice about it. And then to never see them again — we’re just trying to comprehend what happened.”

Vanessa’s mother described her as a “happy girl” who “liked to play,” she said to NJ Advance Media.

Negrete also said her daughter loved the movie “Encanto” and would listen to it every day on her way to daycare. “I’d say, ‘You want Bruno?’ She’d say ‘Yes!,’” Negrete said. “That was her song to go to school. She really loved the school. I didn’t have any complaints about them. They always treated her really good — she never cried. She was really happy there.”

This article has been edited for accuracy.

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