KING GEORGE COUNTY, Va, -- Kasey Hamlet and Trevin Wilson hold close the five months of memories they had with their son Maxx.
“He was just very loving, very calm. Just precious and perfect," Hamlet said.
"I can always remember coming home from work and him being right there," Wilson said. "And when he'd hear my voice, he'd take a break and look up at me and he'd just smile."
But recounting the joyful moments also brings a painful reminder that his young life was gone too soon.
“I still cry when I look through his pictures. That’s probably the hardest part for me," Hamlet said.
It was Feb. 21 when Hamlet and Wilson got the call that 5-month-old Maxx suffered an emergency while at C&A Daycare in King George County.
“She said they checked on Maxx, and he wasn't breathing. So, I hung up, and I got there in probably two minutes," Hamlet said. “I actually walked in, and he was on one of the tables... and one of the staff members was giving him CPR.”
Emergency crews arrived shortly after and rushed Maxx to a hospital.
That's where Maxx was pronounced dead.
"And in that moment, I kind of felt helpless. Definitely, I felt anger, confusion," Wilson said. "I'm trying to understand how this happened and why.”
Wilson said the answers to those questions eventually came when he read the Virginia Department of Social Services' inspection report into C&A Daycare. The agency said the inspection was initiated after a self-reported incident on Feb. 21, the day of Maxx's death.
The inspection cited the daycare with 23 violations to include:
- Failing to ensure care, safety, and guidance of children
- Failing to always keep children within actual sight of supervision
- Failing to forbid physical punishment, striking a child, roughly handling a child, or restricting a child
- Failing to make sure babies are sleeping on their backs and checked on every 15-20 minutes
“It's kind of heinous that these helpless kids are abused physically," Wilson said. "It's not fair to a kid who can't come home and tell his parents what's going on."
According to the report, on the day Maxx died, video evidence showed staff swaddled Maxx, laid him on his stomach in a crib, and put two blankets on top of him including over his head.
Inspectors found that Maxx was put into the crib at 10:53 a.m. and staff did not check on him again until more than three hours later at 2:10 p.m.
It was noted that Maxx was seen on video moving in his crib until 12:27 p.m.
When staff picked up Maxx at 2:10 p.m., the report stated that his body appeared to be limp and pale. A staff member stated that he felt cold and was not breathing.
“[I feel] very guilty honestly that I trusted these people that I really didn’t even know to take care of him," Hamlet said.
The King George Sheriff's Office said they launched an infant death investigation and charged two daycare workers with felony child neglect. Court records revealed the suspects were Arlene Blanchard and Tiffany Roy.
Investigators said additional charges may be forthcoming.
Deputies said the infant portion of the daycare has since been suspended, but the center has not been closed to other age groups.
“I hope that they get shut down completely 100% every age until they have no kids in their care," Hamlet said.
Hamlet and Wilson said the medical examiner's office officially ruled Maxx's cause of death complications from COVID-19 and adenovirus, but they believed the alleged lack of care also contributed to his death.
They noted that multiple other children were harmed at C&A Daycare, according to the inspection. The report also detailed staff being forceful with children, grabbing their faces and necks to force them to lay down, and causing one child to hit their head on the crib.
Through the grief, they said they'll continue to share Maxx's story to send a critical message to other parents.
“Double, triple, quadruple check who watches your kids. Research, ask around in your community," Hamlet said.
“I really think that Maxx is going to save some kids’ lives," Wilson said.
CBS 6 spoke to a manager at the daycare who initially agreed to respond to the allegations. However, she then decided not to comment after consulting her lawyer.
CBS 6 reached out to both suspects' defense attorneys and made contact with one who said he did not want to comment for this story.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.