Police Chief: Angry at 'every one of them' for 5-year-old's death

WEST HELENA, AR (WMC) - Investigators in West Memphis continue to put together the pieces and gather information about the events the led to a 5-year-old being left in a hot van.

Four employees were terminated from Ascent Children's Health Services after Christopher Gardner was left in the transport van. None have been charged, but the possibility isn't out of the question. The police chief said a determination on whether charges will be filed will be made as soon as all the facts have been gathered by investigators.

"We want to get all the facts. We want to make sure we can get those facts turned over to the prosecutors so they're able to make a competent decision," West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes said.

Oakes said temperatures in the van could have reached up to 140 degrees.

"You ask me who I'm angry at, I'm angry at every one of them," he said.

He has six investigators assigned to the case, as well as Department of Human Services.

"We could not test that van because by the time my detectives arrived, it was open and aired out. When we checked the one next to it we're talking about temperatures of 140 degrees."

Oakes said they're doing their part to make the strongest case possible but that could take time.

"It could be two weeks. We could be longer or it could be Monday," he said. "I mean, it just depends on when everything comes back."

Ascent CEO Dan Sullivan offered to pay for the child's funeral expenses, which the family declined. They said they just want to see justice done.

"You can see that my great grandbaby suffered in that van," Carrie Smith said. "That wasn't right."

A former employee of the facility said it is common practice to check the van up to three times, but employees admitted that they did not go back and check the van. They also admitted it was routine to sign the child into the facility whether that child was present or not. Gardner was signed in despite still being in the van.

"Justice still got to be done. It not done yet," Smith said. "They go home to they kids. My daughter can't come home to her son and I can't come home to my grandbaby because he gone."

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.