Dallas

Day Care Owner Admits “Horrible Mistake” After Child is Forgotten at AT&T Stadium

The owner of a Dallas day care says she's holding an emergency meeting Saturday morning after her staff members left a 5-year-old boy alone inside AT&T Stadium during a field trip.

Jeanette Jones, the owner of Jeanette's Little Haven Daycare on Holly Hill Drive, promised that "heads will roll" after the meeting Saturday because of what happened.

Jones told NBC 5's Jeff Smith on the phone she will either terminate, or discipline, several employees during that emergency meeting.

In an emotional phone call, Jeannette Jones, Jeannette’s Little Haven Daycare owner, told NBC 5 that heads will roll” over the mistake.

Leonardo Moncada, the 5-year-old boy at the center of this drama said he was just happy to be back with mom, and Erica Corbin couldn't keep her hands off her son a day after his experience.

"Oh yeah, I know," Corbin said with a smile. "He's my baby. And that was pretty scary."

For his part, Leonardo had a pretty good summary of what the last 24-hours have been like.

"I feeled [sic] sad...because I needed someone," Leonardo said.

When asked how he felt the next day, Leonardo said he felt good, "Because I have my mommy back."

Leonardo said he went off on his own to explore a part of AT&T Stadium, leaving his friends behind. He then got lost and couldn't find his way back.

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"I went to explore another places all by myself but then they all left me. I was too lost," he said.

He said he had a sinking feeling that his group had left.

"I thought they were gone and left for another field trip," he said.

The next morning, Erica Corbin pulled her son out of Jeanette’s Little Haven Daycare.

"He could have been taken by someone; he could have found his way out of the stadium and no one would have known where he came from. It’s not like he has an ID or something," she said.

"I don’t know, I might now have to put a tag on him now," she said with a smile.

NBC 5's Jeff Smith spoke with owner Jeanette Jones on the phone for 20 minutes, but she didn't want to go on camera.

She admitted to a "horrible mistake" and said it was the lowest moment of her career.

"I am devastated by this, I admit this was a horrible mistake and I'm so thankful Leonardo is safe," she said. I've been in this business 25 years and nothing, nothing, nothing like this has ever happened before. This was a shocking mistake and I can promise you heads will roll."

She said it's "no excuse," but the bus picked up children from two separate facilities on the way to AT&T Stadium. Jones said her staff didn't realize Leonardo never got on the bus, and then they later thought he must have gotten off at the other location, Jeanette's Little Haven Enrichment Center at 6868 Walling Lane.

She admitted no one called to verify Leonardo was there.

Leonardo's mother doesn't buy it.

"Honestly, I really think hearing that, that it's their attempt at an excuse," Erica Corbin said. "Because really they just forgot him, if anything they should have had a separate list of which kid they were picking up from which facility. I just don’t understand. They lost my child."

"No one called and checked. When I got there and asked where my son was they had no idea he was even missing. If I had not showed up at that time looking for him, there’s no telling how long he would have been lost," she said.

Corbin said her son has had enough adventure for a while, hopes he has a relaxing, safe time with grandma this weekend.

"He won’t be going back to that school. So now I need to make arrangements with family to see who can take care of him now, I’m not sure I’d even ever trust another day care," she said.

Both Erica Corbin and Leonardo had extremely kind things to say about the Arlington police officers who came to the scene in addition to the security guards at AT&T Stadium.

The stadium guards gave Leonardo bracelets and snacks, then gave him a football to play with while they waited for police. Once officers arrived, they played catch with Leonardo, let him sit in the police cruiser, and even let him activate the lights and sirens.

While NBC 5 spoke to the owner on the phone, a staff member did come out and give a brief statement.

“On behalf of Jeanette’s Little Haven, we apologize to the mother [and] to the father to Leonardo," said Paul Johnson, teacher and bus driver. We have been going on field trips since school's been out every day. This has never happened. This is one isolated incident, and again we apologize and thank God he is all right. I would want nothing to happen to him, but again we apologize to the family. You can’t say sorry enough. I have two kids and never had this happen but I can just imagine what you are all going through.”

NBC 5 dug through records and found 35 violations in the past two years, but that was from 1,300 standards. We are told that number is about average.

An investigator from Child Care Licensing went to Jeannette’s Little Haven on Friday. They have 30 days to determine whether there was a violation.

NBC 5's Julie Fine contributed to this report.

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