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Metro

Toddler’s fall deemed a ‘tragic accident’

Officials say day-care operator saw he was missing, sought him

Daylan Walker.

Daylan Walker.

The operator of a Dorchester day-care center housed in an apartment building where a 2-year-old boy fell to his death Wednesday quickly learned that the child was missing and desperately searched for him, according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.

The boy, Daylan Walker, somehow got out of the center on the first floor and began walking toward the stairs. Just moments later, the operator, Marisol Rondon-Ramos, saw that he was gone and ran out the door to look for him, the officials said.

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But instead of turning toward the stairs, where Daylan had begun his climb to the roof, Rondon-Ramos went out on the street.

“Her instincts told her to go to the street,” one of the officials said. “It was a tragic accident.”

Video surveillance shows the toddler walking alone up the steps, the officials said.

There were no more than six children at the center when Daylan got out. Rondon-Ramos was licensed to care for six children at a time and was in compliance with the restrictions that morning.

Rondon-Ramos could not be reached for comment Friday. No one picked up at a phone number listed for her, and security officials continued to guard the building at 129-135 Columbia Road, where she ran her day-care center.

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On Friday, she surrendered the day-care license she had held since 2006, according to the state Department of Early Education and Care, which is investigating what happened Wednesday morning.

Over the past two years, the agency had cited Rondon-
Ramos three times for enrolling too many children in her program and four times for noncompliance with safe sleep practices, according to the state.

“The Department of Early Education and Care provided a high level of review and oversight of Ms. Rondon-Ramos’ program in response to noncompliances that we identified as part of our licensing, monitoring, and complaint processes,” agency spokeswoman Kathleen Hart said in e-mail.

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office is investigating the death, along with Boston police. Spokesmen for both agencies said that the investigation continues and that no charges have been filed.

Daylan’s mother, Leonela Rivera, remains hospitalized because of the stress over losing her only child, said her mother, Lucrecia Rivera.

No funeral arrangements have been made yet. The family is waiting for the medical examiner to release the body, said Lucrecia Rivera.

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation has told the Globe that Daylan was missing for possibly 20 minutes before he was found on the ground outside the building about 10 a.m. by a woman who lives on the first floor.

City inspectors visited the property Wednesday afternoon after the death and issued a citation because the door leading to the roof did not close properly. City officials said the battery-operated alarm triggered by pushing the door open with its crash bar was also not functioning.

A city official has said that inspectors do not know whether the door was open when Daylan reached the roof.

The 191 units in the building are paid for by rental subsidies from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The building’s common areas and some of its units were last inspected in August 2013 by MassHousing, which administers the subsidized contract on behalf of the federal government.

“The 2013 management review showed that the property was in good condition,” said Rhonda Siciliano, New England spokeswoman for HUD.

Laura Crimaldi of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Maria Cramer can be reached at mcramer@globe.com.
Follow her on Twitter @globemcramer.

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