FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- People walking the sidewalk in downtown Fernandina Beach were in for a surprise last Tuesday morning when they spotted a little boy walking alone. The 4-year-old from Yulee ventured a couple of blocks from the Lamb Christian Daycare. Fernandina Beach Police say he must have crossed two streets on his own before someone called police.
"Thank goodness this 4-year-old was not abducted or hurt in any way," said John Harrell, spokesman for Florida's Department of Children and Families, "Centre Street is not a small street. We need to investigate."
The state agency told Action News that the Lamb Christian Daycare has no history of major violations like this.
Police say the daycare claims the boy asked to use the bathroom, then somehow slipped through the main door on his own. Two adults later called police when they spotted the child on the sidewalk downtown.
Harrell said, "They've got to be watching the kids at all times. If they’re keeping an eye on the kids properly, if they have the right ratio required by the state, they'd shouldn't be able to get off the lot. It's just very stunning."
Gretchen Hastings, a spokeswoman for The United Methodist Church which runs the daycare center, told Action News, "Safety is of upmost importance to us at the daycare and the church. We are cooperating with DCF while they are investigating what happened, and we are doing an internal assessment of our own procedures."
Fernandina Beach Police haven't issued any charges yet. DCF is investigating this as a class 1 violation, punishable by up to a $500 fine.