Michael Carter Donnell had been attending daycare for less than a week when he tragically died. The seven-month-old who went by the name Carter, was a happy and healthy child and his death shocked his family.
Carter’s mother, Gabriella Garcia, suspects her son died from choking while being left unattended on his stomach. She fears he choked and none of the caregivers ever saw a thing. Now, Gabriella is demanding action so that a preventable death like this never happens again.
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Gabriella warned the daycare about her son rolling, but it didn’t make a difference.
In an interview with My San Antonio, Gabriella explains that she told employees of Our Little Hopes and Dreams Christian Learning Center that her son was having discomfort when on his stomach and that he’d recently started rolling. Just days later, her greatest fears were realized when she got a call saying her son was unconscious and not responsive.
When she arrived at her son’s care facility, paramedics were already tending to her son. Frantic, she asked if Carter was warm or breathing. The paramedics answered, “No.”
“I was pleading to God. I said ‘Please. I thought he was okay. They were doing it for him, they were breathing for him,” she described.
Gabriella held her son for 3 hours at the hospital after he died.
Carter was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Gabriella held her son for three hours before saying her final goodbye.
“I was with him until 5 p.m., holding him and crying with him and loving him and telling him how much I wanted him with me,” she explained. “He didn’t last five days at that daycare.”
Gabriella thinks that installing cameras at daycares is a solution.
Gabriella says that the paramedics described finding her son on his stomach with blood and vomit beneath him. She is demanding action so that it never happens again. She feels that a new law requiring cameras in every nursery and care facility would help solve the problem.
“I want the teachers to be alert because my 4-year-old, he can speak for himself. He tells me everything. Carter, he couldn’t,” she said. “I’m yelling for him right now because he couldn’t do it.”
According to Gabriella, if cameras had been installed, they would have captured exactly what happened to her son. In addition to cameras being able to offer answers to parents, they would also be used to hold caregivers accountable. She’s still mourning the loss of her son, but she’s ready to fight for other kids.
“I would like parents to know, do not put your kids in daycare, at least until they are old enough to tell you about their day,” she said. “Please stick with your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.”
She is still waiting on an official cause of death. While she waits, police are investigating Our Little Hopes and Dreams Christian Learning Center.
This is a heartbreaking story. We hope that Gabriella continues to fight and can use her pain to bring about change and accountability when it comes to daycares. We wish the best for her and her family.