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Mom demands action after child walks away from St. Pete daycare unnoticed

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 26, 2018

St. Petersburg, Fla. — A local mom is demanding action after her 6-year-old son was found blocks away from his daycare.

According to St. Petersburg Police, 6-year-old Jayden Ruiz was outside on the playground with the other kids. They say sometime after employees took attendance, Jayden managed to get out of the gate and walked away, without any employees noticing. He walked around the building to the main road and made it about two blocks before a woman driving by spotted him.

Police say the woman called 911 and stayed with Jayden until officers arrived.

Hayley Lambert says she was on her way to pick him up when she received a call from a supervisor at the Thomas Jet Jackson Recreation Center. 

"My heart sunk," she said. "I was terrified for my child."

Jayden was not hurt. A supervisor with the city's Parks and Recreation Department emailed Lambert and apologized for the incident. Lambert says an apology isn't enough. 

"I could have lost my son forever because I put my faith and the care of my child into that facility," she said.

The daycare gave Lambert a full refund and she is no longer taking Jayden there.

She wants to know that the city is taking steps so that this doesn't happen to another child.

ABC Action News reached out to the city and received this statement:

"On Monday June 18th, at the Thomas "Jet" Jackson Recreation Center, an unaccompanied youth left the premises but was returned unharmed after authorities were notified. The city of St. Petersburg acknowledges this as an unfortunate incident. We Strive for the highest standards for the car of children in any of our programs. The city is evaluating the actions of the team member involved in this incident and is currently auditing our processes to ensure this will not happen again." 

Lambert says she really appreciates the woman who stopped to help her son. 

"If I ever meet her I will thank her, and give her the biggest hug," said Hayley. "She was my son's guardian angel that day." 

The police department is investigating the incident.