AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — Two toddlers left a day care on their own and were found running down the street near a busy north Austin intersection, police say.
Austin police say it happened Monday morning around 10:35 a.m. at Papa and Nanas Child Care at 11301 Hornsby Street. The daycare is located at the corner of Hornsby and Braker Lane and across from Walnut Creek Elementary.
One of the neighbors who spotted the little girls say they appeared to be under two years old and were wearing bright pink colors that were easy to see. Police say the caller held the children until officers arrived.
“They made it a fair distance down the street,” one witness told KXAN. “That’s a big problem.”
When KXAN called the daycare Tuesday morning, a woman named Debra English answered and said she was the owner. She said the girls walked out of a gate on the property.
English agreed to do an interview about the situation, but when KXAN showed up, another woman was waiting at the door and told reporter Erin Cargile to get off the property.
There is a chain-link fence, next to Braker Lane, around the backyard where children play, which is the only visible gate. Witnesses say, luckily, the girls ran the opposite direction, down the neighborhood street and were spotted by a neighbor.
Austin police say it does not appear anyone was arrested. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is investigating, and would not expand on what their next steps will be.
According to records from the Department of Family and Protective Services, the day care has a total of 39 children. The center has been inspected nine times in the last three years. During that time inspectors cited 20 deficiencies. Three of them involved not having adequate caregiver ratios for the number of children in their care.
During a visit in November of 2015, the inspector found one caregiver supervising nine infants who ranged in age from 4 months to 17 months old. In April of 2017, the report says a caregiver accepted a personal phone call and was talking on the phone while supervising children during the inspection.