Good Samaritan finds toddlers who wandered away from St. Louis County daycare

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 10:14 PM CDT
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NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV) - A woman on her way to the market Monday morning found two toddlers close to the roadway after they wandered out of their daycare in north St. Louis County.

“It’s one of the scariest things, one of the scariest phone calls,” said Isaiah Longhibler who received a call from police that his 2-year-old daughter had escaped from Young Expressions Childcare on Patterson Road near Florissant.

According to police, the two toddlers opened up a gate in the backyard play area and walked almost to the roadway. The daycare is located in the middle of a strip mall.

“I hopped out of the car before my husband could even stop and ran and grabbed them,” said Nikki Vincent, who was pulling into the shopping center to go to the market.

Vincent brought the children back to the daycare where she said the workers did not know they were gone.

News 4 reached out to the daycare and the director said “no comment.”

A search of state records shows Young Expressions Childcare has had several complaints and violations over the years.

A report from May 2021 found “The facility did not have a fenced outdoor play area that was on or adjoining the daycare property and was accessible without hazard as evidenced by the fence was not in good condition in that on the side playground, several fence posts were broken or loose from the mounting posts. Screws and nails were exposed.”

The children escaped through missing fence posts, with broken pieces lying on the ground.

The most recent inspection from June said the fence was in compliance.

“Where are the people watching them? If you have a gate like that with no padlock. you would assume someone would be next to the gate or watching the kid more thoroughly,” said Longhibler.

The incident was reported to police and the state hotline. News 4 has reached out to the state to find out what will happen next with the daycare.