Two parents from Chicago's south suburbs are desperately seeking answers in their son's death.
Tiffany and Craig Pearson say they dropped off 5-year-old Anthony the morning of July 19 at an in-home daycare in Richton Park. Hours later, they were informed by police he was unresponsive.
"There's no words for loss of a child. It is unnatural," said Tiffany Pearson.
"I will never get that image of my son out of my head, of him on the [hospital] table," she said.
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Anthony was on the Autism spectrum and epileptic, so he required special care. The Pearsons say they thought they'd found that in Deangela Edwards and her in-home center, "Little Dreamers."
"What I guess I find really disturbing is, it happened on the 19th of July, and here we are on the 2nd of August and they don't have any answer as to what happened, why it happened or who is responsible. There has been a lack of information coming from Little Dreamers and specifically, its owner Deangela Edwards," said attorney Cannon Lambert, Sr.
The family says they never received a call or any information from Edwards regarding their son's death. Their only communication was with police. They've since retained an attorney to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
The lawsuit alleges Edwards "carelessly and negligently" secured Anthony in a car seat in such a manner to "become entangled in the restraints and create a strangulation hazard."
It goes on to say "as a direct and proximate result," Anthony "became entangled in a car seat's restraints and was strangled."
Lambert believes Edwards put Anthony in the car seat while she took a shower.
"Little Dreamers had ample opportunity to tell the family but didn’t. They’re being made to file a lawsuit in order to find out what happened. That shouldn’t be," said Lambert.
Richton Park police confirm they were called to the daycare center on the 22000 block of Lakeshore Drive on July 19 at 10:35 a.m. Upon arrival, officers located an unresponsive 5-year-old boy and immediately rendered life saving measures. He was transported to Franciscan St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields where he was pronounced dead.
The Richton Park Police Detectives Bureau and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) have pending investigations.
DCFS also confirms to NBC 5 its agency has had prior contact with the caregiver.
NBC 5 could not find any license for Little Dreamers through DCFS' online portal.
However, in the state of Illinois, only home operators caring for more than three children require a license. It's unclear how many children were present at the time of Anthony's death.
Edwards refused comment to NBC 5 on the pending lawsuit.
"None of this [makes] sense at all. Somebody should have said something," said Tiffany Pearson. "I loved him so much, and that is why I’m here right now. I want answers."
Tiffany Pearson says she'd only been taking Anthony to Little Dreamers for less than a month as she went back to work. She was preparing him for school in a matter of weeks.
"I had a whole plan for him," she said. "Put him back in ABA therapy. The best shot he could have at the most normal life, that was my goals for him."
"Now, I just want answers, and I want justice for him, because this shouldn’t have happened," said Pearson.
Both Tiffany and Craig say Anthony was a fighter.
"He was a very fun, loving kid. Energetic. Very affectionate," said Craig Pearson.
"It hurts beyond description. Our goal here is to get answers," he said.