Cynthia Duman, from left, Jennifer Parette and Mary Parette
Photo: Lee County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Lee County Sheriff's Office

Workers charged after toddler found shut in day care closet, police say

Mary Parette, 66; Cynthia Duman, 45; and Jennifer Parette, 26, were arrested Monday in Phenix City, according to the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer

WTVM in Columbus reported that all three women were released after posting $1,000 bond each. 

The investigation into the women began after a parent, Sydney Zimmerman, found her 22-month-old son, Slade, in a closet at the day care, which was run out of one of the women’s homes. Zimmerman told the news station that she arrived early one day to pick her son up.

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“I followed her in and then she goes to the closet, opens the closet door, turns the light on and my son is sitting there, strapped in a car seat that is not his, and the first thing he says when he sees me is, ‘Mama,’” Zimmerman said. 

Zimmerman said the closet was hot because the home’s air conditioning did not circulate in the small, enclosed space. 

“He could have overheated and died,” she told WTVM.

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Zimmerman said one of the women attempted to explain what happened before police arrived. 

“She’s all, ‘Sometimes, he doesn’t want to take a nap. Sometimes, he doesn’t this or that,’” Zimmerman said. “That tells me (that) sometimes, this happens.”

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told the news station that his office and the Alabama Department of Human Resources are conducting parallel investigations into the day care. 

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