Lawton daycare shut down, owner disputes claim

Lawton_A Lawton daycare has been shut down by the state after the owner was accused of leaving a four-year-old child alone in a car.  The owner says she didn't do it, but the four-year-old says she did.  Marsha Garcia says she went to pick up food with the boy in the car, but she never left him alone.

Garcia says she's upset about the accusations, and says they just aren't true.  She says she has been in the daycare industry for almost 30 years, and this is the first time something like this has happened.  She has been running a daycare out of her home, but now the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) have shut her down.  "I did not do anything," she says.  "I would never leave a child in the car by themselves.  I don't even do business like that.  I mean, I've been doing day care since 1980."

DHS says the four-year-old boy helped with their investigation.  They say he told them he was in the car at a pizza place, but didn't know for how long.  But, Garcia says that although they went to Little Caesars on Sheridan Road, they went through the-drive through.  "Nobody got out [of the car]," she says.  "For him to say that, that is a lie."

Garcia also says that day was the first day the boy had ever attended her daycare, and now she's fighting back - it's her word against the boy's.  "Right is right and wrong is wrong," she says.  "If I did it, ok, I did it.  But, I know within myself I did not do that, and I do plan to appeal it."  Garcia says it's not even a matter of winning the appeal - it's a matter of principle.  "If I never do day care again it doesn't matter, that does not matter to me at all," she says.  "But the fact of the matter is, it was a lie."

DHS will not reveal who reported the incident - whether it was the boy's mother or someone else.  The incident occurred on April 2, and a notice of emergency closure was issued two days later.  Garcia has ten days to file an appeal with DHS.  The daycare will be closed until the case is resolved.

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