Ladson daycare plans to honor toddler who died at county park

VIDEO: Ladson daycare to honor toddler who died at county park
Source: Jackson Helms/Live 5 News
Source: Jackson Helms/Live 5 News

LADSON, SC (WCSC) - A Ladson daycare plans to honor a student who died Saturday at James Island County Park.

Charleston Police say Duffy McLemore was playing at the Spray Play Sprinkler Saturday afternoon when he wandered off into a nearby pond. His mom told officers she was packing up to go and took her eyes off him for a moment.

The boy's body was found Saturday night.

Yolanda Summers owns the Ladson daycare that Duffy McLemore attended for two years. Summers says she last saw the toddler on Thursday.

"You would never think that when a child leaves your facility that they wouldn't come back," Summers said.

Sunday morning, she learned about his tragic death at James Island County Park.

"I just started crying. It's very painful. It still is, but I have to be strong for my staff here and for the students and the parents."

Summers say Duffy was a loving child.

"He's had a close connection with his teacher. he loved her very much. he loved all the teachers here very much. But most of all the teachers and the students here love Duffy."

She says as a student, Duffy was making lots of progress.

Summers showed us his recent artwork and two certificates of achievement.

"He has grown so much in leaps and bounds. I think that's why it's so heartbreaking when you see a child pickup so much, but you can't control what happens," Summers said.

Duffy's dad also is having a hard time dealing with his death.

On his Facebook page he wrote, 'I have felt pain like never before the past day. A son should be putting his dad in a box, not the other way around.'

Summers says the day care plans to honor Duffy's memory.

"We're gonna try to keep it going in honor of Duffy because we do love him like he's ours."

Duffy's mom says she is planning her son's funeral.

In a text message to Live 5 News she wrote, "Let's make sure this never happens to another child that was as happy as Duffy was."

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.