Parents speak of heartache after baby dies at day care – FOX19

DEMOPOLIS, Ala. (WSFA/Gray News) – Parents in Alabama are remembering their young son who died at a day care last month.
Taylor and Paul Robertson said their 5-month-old son Brayden 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,” Brayden’s mother, Taylor Robertson, said.
Born Oct. 20, 2023, Brayden immediately stole the hearts of his parents and big sister.
“Every morning she would want her ‘bubba’ right here on her pillow,” Brayden’s father, Paul Robertson, said.
But less than six months into his life, Brayden was gone.
“We would do anything in this world to have our perfect baby boy back,” Taylor Robertson said.
Brayden’s parents said they dropped their baby boy off at the Tender Years Preschool & Nursery on March 25.
By that afternoon, Taylor Robertson said the day care owner called, telling her that her son stopped breathing.
“My son was unresponsive,” Brayden’s mother said.
Taylor Robertson said she drove straight to the day care after the call. When she arrived, she said she 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 Robertson had to say goodbye to their baby boy.
“No good explanation for it,” Paul Robertson said.
Taylor Robertson said, “No parents should have to watch their child be lowered into the dirt at the hands of somebody else.”
According to police, Versa Mae Simmons, an employee at the day care has been arrested in connection with the case.
Simmons is charged with murder and four counts of child abuse.
Court records stated that Simmons on more than one occasion abused, beat, and/or mistreated the boy causing his death.
The documents also revealed that 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,” Taylor Robertson said.
Brayden’s parents said they are now questioning whether there were warning signs that something was wrong.
“He didn’t have a voice. He couldn’t tell me, ‘Momma, I don’t want to go here,’” Taylor Robertson said. “Every afternoon he would light up when we picked him up. I just thought my baby was excited to see me. But now it makes me wonder, was he excited because I was finally taking him away from something that he didn’t like.”
The parents said there were 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 clip or his fingernails,” Paul Robertson said.
Brayden’s parents said they 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 Robertson 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,” Brayden’s mother said. “And I don’t want any other mom or daddy to feel like this.”
Authorities said the license for Tender Years Preschool & Nursery has been suspended.
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