A community is waiting with baited breath for updates on the condition of a vivacious little girl who was left on a hot school bus for up to six hours.
Nevaeh Austin, three, was picked up from her home about 9am on Wednesday to attend Le Smileys Early Learning Centre at Gracemere, near Rockhampton.
She was found unconscious in the same van six hours later. Paramedics were able to revive her and rushed her to the nearby Rockhampton hospital.
She was then taken to Brisbane on Wednesday night for an urgent deep brain scan and treatment on a failing kidney. Doctors say her condition is critical, but stable.
Just a few hours north two years ago, Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, known as Meeky, tragically died after he was left in a hot school van following the morning pick up.
Nevaeh Austin is fighting for life with a failing kidney after being locked in a day care centre bus in Gracemere for six hours
The two cases have eerie similarities. Both children are the same age and were left in the car for the same amount of time with peaks of slightly different outside temperatures.
Everyone hopes the outcome will be different this time around.
Like Nevaeh, Maliq was seemingly forgotten on February 18, 2020. He spent six hours on the minivan in Cairns on a 34C day and by the time emergency crews arrived he was already dead.
Former centre director and bus driver Michael Glenn Lewis was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with a non parole period of 18 months.
The toddler was revived by Queensland paramedics after being found unconscious in a minivan outside the Le Smiley’s Early Learning Centre (pictured) on Wednesday afternoon
The centre was charged with failing to adequately supervise children, protect child from harm and taking reasonable steps to ensure documents were accurate.
It’s unclear if Nevaeh’s day care will reopen on Thursday.
Cops told Daily Mail Australia there will be a heavy police presence throughout the week as the investigation continues, but the centre is under no obligation to close while inquiries continue.
The centre was supposed to open at 6.15am and by 6.45am was still not taking phone calls.
Distraught parents arrived at the school to pick up their children on Wednesday afternoon, marvelling at how a task as mundane as the pick up and drop off could go so wrong.
One mother claimed the school never contacted her to alert her to the incident and she instead was left to read about it on social media.
The toddler was rushed to Rockhampton Hospital in a gravelly-ill condition and is believed to be in a critical but stable condition with her parents at her bedside
A senior Queensland politician has vowed an inquiry into the horrific incident will be launched as questions begin to be asked about how daycare centre staff didn’t notice the girl was missing.
‘She’s the most loudest little girl they tell me… she’s the heart of the daycare,’ Mr Austin told the Courier Mail.
The toddler is understood to have been found ‘unresponsive’ in the van outside the daycare on Lucas Street about 2.50pm.
Queensland Ambulance Service’s Central Region operations manager Jason Thompson described the situation as ‘traumatic’ for crews who treated her and admitted he had ‘goosebumps’ talking about it.
‘On the crew’s arrival Queensland Police were already on scene and escorted the crew into the childcare centre where the young child was on the floor in the admin area,’ he said.
Temperatures in Rockhampton reached a maximum of 29C on Wednesday.
The Rockhampton incident echoes the tragic case of Maliq Nicholas Lloyd Namok-Malamoo (pictured) who was found dead on the Goodstart Early Learning Centre minibus in Cairns in February, 2020
Five police vehicles were in attendance monitoring access to and from the childcare facility.
Daycare centre staff are now being interviewed by investigators and the white minivan is undergoing analysis, especially a seat in the middle of the bus.
Queensland’s assistant minister for education, Brittany Lauga, said ‘this simply shouldn’t have happened’ and vowed an inquiry would follow.
‘Tonight is a little girl in Gracemere who is fighting for her life in hospital after being allegedly left on a bus at daycare,’ Ms Lauga said in a social media post.
‘Families need to have peace of mind that when they send their children off to school, kindy or day care, they will come home safe.’
Meeky’s lifeless body was found in the child care minibus (pictured), almost six hours after he was allegedly collected from his home last February