EAST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) –– There was outrage from a mother on Wednesday after her little girl was allegedly left behind on the beach by her Queens day care center.
Police said 2-year-old Alexia Zambrotta was left at the beach in Heckscher State Park in East Islip after a group outing with Our Little Darlings Day Care, of Bay Shore.
“This 2-year-old was apparently playing with another parent’s kids on the beach and [they] noticed there was no parents, and notified the lifeguard, who then notified us,” said Capt. Bruce Marx, of the New York State Parks Police.
Lifeguards said the little girl was very cute, well cared for and well behaved. She sat with them for more than three hours.
Police said the daycare finally called to ask if any children had been found at the beach, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Christina Karimi, the girl’s mother, said she was reunited with Alexia after 7 p.m.
“I’m disgusted. I can’t understand how you lose a child. This should never have happened. The daycare is supposed to do a headcount. I can’t wrap my head around this,” Karimi said, adding she was “very grateful to all who helped my baby at the beach.”
Karimi said her daughter won’t be returning to the day care center and that the family is waiting for answers. She said she wonders how her most precious possession could have been left behind.
“I put my daughter’s life into someone else’s hands and there could have been an incident,” she told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday night. “I got lucky. Something worse could have happened.”
Parks police have also opened a criminal investigation to consider child endangerment charges.
Sondra Baer lives across the street from the day care, and like most neighbors, said the children always seemed to be in good hands.
“I would be very upset, to tell you the truth. I was a teacher. I always accounted for my students,” Baer told CBS 2’s Aiello.
Resident Shari Knaust said she was equally surprised to hear about the incident.
“I see kids playing there all the time. They’re always attentive. I haven’t seen anything bad,” Knaust said.
Karimi said she would take the rest of the week off from work to spend time with her daughter. She said friends have volunteered to watch Alexia when her mom goes back to work, CBS 2’s Sanchez reported.
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