A 3-year-old boy died in Houston on Thursday after being left inside an overheated day care van for several hours, according to officials.
The boy, Raymond Pryer, died after being in the van for about four hours without ventilation while in the care of the Discover Me Academy, Houston police officials said at a news briefing Friday.
The area has been experiencing an intense heat wave over the last few days, with temperatures in the 100s.
Pryer did not exit the van with the other children at the end of a field trip, officials said. When his father came to pick him up, Pryer was found in the vehicle, unresponsive.
"It's tragic that children are left in their vehicles, especially in the heat of the summer, especially as we have record heat right now," Assistant Police Chief Bobby Dobbins said.
"This is just one more incident where something that shouldn't have been happening, happened."
The Department of Family and Protective Services will continue an investigation into whether or not there was neglectful behavior. It will then turn over its findings to the Health and Human Services Commission in Austin, the licensing agency for the daycare.
Previous inspections have found seven standards deficiencies at Discover Me Academy in the last three years, three of which were rated as high risk level, according to records from HHSC.
"It's so sad, so sad," said Sharon Griffin, whose nieces and nephews went to the day care, told NBC affiliate KPRC. "It was a pretty nice day care. It's just a sad situation. I can't imagine anyone not trying to get the kids off the bus. I couldn't imagine that. That it's just so sad."
A grand jury will ultimately decide whether charges will be filed once the investigation has concluded, officials said.