Parents speak out about son who died at Demopolis day care – WSFA

DEMOPOLIS, Ala. (WSFA) – With a laugh that would put a smile on anyone’s face, Brayden Paul Robertson was full of life and love.
“The brightest smile, the prettiest smile and his laugh. He had this little squeal when he laughed and it was my absolute favorite,” said Brayden’s mother, Taylor.
Born Oct. 20, 2023, Brayden immediately stole the hearts of his parents and big sister.
“Every morning she would ask, you know, I want Bubba right here on my pillow,” said Paul, Brayden’s father.
Less than six months later, Brayden would be gone.
”We would do anything in this world to have our perfect baby boy back,” Taylor said.
March 25, Brayden got dropped off at day care a healthy little boy. That afternoon, Taylor says the day care owner called her co-worker.
”To tell them that my son was unresponsive. And she drove me there and we got there in three minutes,” she said.
When she arrived at the day care, Taylor experienced something no mother should ever have to see.
”I saw his lifeless body on the changing table as they were trying to do life-saving measures,” she said.
Five months after they first held him in their arms, Taylor and Paul had to say goodbye to their perfect boy.
”No good explanation for it,“ Paul said.
”No parents should have to watch their child be lowered into the dirt at the hands of somebody else,” Taylor said.
Police say he died at the hands of Versa Mae Simmons. She was an employee at Tender Years Preschool & Nursery.
Simmons is charged with murdering Brayden, plus four counts of child abuse. Court records allege that Simmons “on more than one occasion, by willfully abusing, cruelly beating, or otherwise willfully maltreating,” caused the death. The documents also reveal police believe Brayden was not her only victim.
”Monsters come in all shapes and sizes and people you never would think, so don’t be fooled,” said Taylor.
Taylor and Paul now question whether there were warning signs something was wrong.
“He didn’t have a voice. He couldn’t tell me ‘Momma, I don’t want to go here.’ Every afternoon he would light up when we would go pick him up, either one, and of course you just think that’s your baby excited to see you,” she said. “But now as a mother, it makes me wonder, are you so excited because I’m finally taking you away from something that you don’t like.”
Taylor and Paul said there were also times Brayden would come home with scratches, but the day care quickly explained away any concerns.
”We were told that he scratched himself with his paci clip or his fingernails,” Paul said.
Taylor and Paul, through their tragedy, want to educate other parents.
“Ask all the questions. If you think it wasn’t his fingernails? Ask. Ask for video footage. Ask. I wish I could go back and change a lot, but I can’t,“ Taylor said.
But she hopes she can save other moms and dads the heartache her family faces for the rest of their lives.
”Losing a child is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure, but losing a child that you shouldn’t have lost because they were perfect and they were perfectly healthy is something different. And I don’t want any other mom or daddy to feel like this,” she said.
DHR confirms Tender Years Preschool & Nursery voluntarily surrendered its license on April 19.
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