The mother of the Utah child who was suffocated under a bean bag chair at daycare has broken her silence. Her son, named Leonardo Sanchez, was killed when a child care employee unknowingly sat on top of a bean bag that the 1-year-old was playing under.
"We're barely coping, barely making it. He was the biggest life of the house," Leonardo's mom, Danielle Sanchez explained to People. "There's just a void here. It's just very, very difficult."
Leonardo was killed last week at the West Jordan Child Center when an employee sat down on the pile of bean bag chairs to read a story to the children. The teacher was seated on the bean bags for 15 minutes before realizing that Leonardo wasn't sitting there with the other children.
"He was such a bright, bright boy. He had such a loving, loving personality," Sanchez recalled. "He just loved being a part of what everyone else was a part of."
Just after 10 a.m., Danielle remembered receiving a call from the West Jordan Child Center staff. "It was a daycare worker just screaming that 'He's not breathing.'"
When the officers came to Sanchez to tell her about the tragic incident, she was in disbelief. "I had to say it back to the officer, 'So, you're telling me right now that a teacher sat on my son? Sat on my baby?'" said Sanchez. "And he said, 'yes.'"
She continued, "I have questions...it's just frustrating, confusing. I'm baffled. I want my baby boy back. And that's not going to happen."
Sanchez was not told the details of what happened until Leonardo was airlifted to a second hospital.
"Why wasn't he kept track of? He's rowdy. He's loud. He's the one you watched out for," she wondered. "If he was kept track of they would have known he was playing in the pile of bags."
The family is planning to hold a funeral for Leonardo on September 17, which would have been his second birthday. The Sanchez family has encouraged people to bring birthday presents, which will be donated to the local children's hospital.
The officials with the West Jordan Child Center declined to comment on the matter, and the lawyer for the center did not respond to People's request for a comment.