Latoye Sutter was at work when she received a text message at around 9:03 p.m. on December 6.
The message was from her son’s day care, and it said that another child had scratched Dakota. Initially, Sutter wasn’t too worried about her son getting scratched, so she asked to have a picture sent to her.
Sutter told CBS 19 that it wasn’t until she received the photos of her 18-month-old son’s injuries that her heart started racing:
“I asked her to send me some photos. It took her a minute to send them back, but when I saw the photos I left immediately.”
According to Sutter, she was initially told that the attack only lasted a few seconds.
Sutter told CBS 19:
“When I made it to the house, she [the day care owner] was holding my son. He had cream all over his face. She explained to me that she had stepped away to light the fireplace, and when she came back my son was crying and covered in blood.
[…] She said my son was laying on his cot sleeping, and the other child was next to him on his cot on the iPad when she stepped out of the room. She said they were okay… and the next thing she knew my son was crying, and when she came back over and turned the light on my son was standing there covered in blood.”
However, the mom was later told that the attack could have lasted about five minutes. The day care owner said that a 4-year-old child was responsible for Dakota’s injuries.
According to CBS 19, that child was removed from a previous day care for similar behavior. It was a realization that angered Sutter:
“And you knew this child had these types of issues, there’s no reason why he should have been left alone even for a second with a one-year-old.”
Dakota was taken to the hospital while police and the Department of Human Services were called to the day care, which is run out of the owner’s home.
One of the responding officers allegedly told Sutter that her son looked as if he was “mauled by an animal.”
A spokesperson for the Mississippi State Department of Health said in a statement that the day care was not licensed:
This facility is not licensed, nor has it applied for a license. We are currently investigating the matter. It is important to remember that not all facilities need to be licensed, it just depends on the circumstances.
Sutter told CBS 19 that her son is continuing to heal. However, he has been much more clingy in the days following the attack:
“He’s a little withdrawn. He’s clingy. If you get up to go to another room, he follows you. He doesn’t just venture off like he used to by himself.”
Dakota had only been enrolled at the day care for about a month. Sutter said she chose this specific day care because it was the only local childcare service that offered after-hours care — something Sutter needed because she works at night.
As of December 11, the day care has not been criminally charged. However, the investigation is still ongoing.