By Camaron Abundes
ODESSA- Even after an entire year the horror hasn't worn off for Amanda McKinley and her family. Last July, McKinley's son Caleb who was just 4-years-old was found strapped inside a van following a field trip with a group of kids attending Odessa Christian's Day Camp.
"I've not ever been able to talk about it without being upset," McKinley said.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached 97 degrees in Odessa back on July 22nd, 2008.
"There was no way he could have buckled or unbuckled that five point harness," McKinley said her son's was helpless he sat inside the 15 passenger van without so much as a window cracked.
"I remember the exact time I got the phone call from the principal saying she needed to meet with me up until the time we we're in the hospital," she recalled. At first, McKinley said her son seemed fine and paramedics sent him home with the family. Soon she says the realized his temperature was not going down. Instead it had climbed to 104.5 degrees when they rushed him to the emergency room.
"Not knowing if your kid is going to make it was the hardest part and I will never forget the exact things that happened that day," McKinley said doctors say Caleb is lucky he didn't suffer brain damage. They continue to monitor the five year old through MRI's and other procedures his mom says this is a lesson for others not to make this mistake.
Caleb still suffers from night terrors and has developed trust issues. She wants others to look before they lock up.
"Take the extra few minutes and look in your vehicle. Make sure you don't have a child in there," McKinley said.
Still she can't shake the feeling it wasn't an accident.
"His car seat was in the middle of two other carseats so they had to unbuckle those two other kids and get them out. They had to reach over to unbuckle one of them. So no I don't think it was an accident. I think that he was probably misbehaving and they were giving a time out of some sort but I don't think it was an accident," she said.
Odessa Police charged Kim Mountcastle, 26 and Deborah Harrisson, 59 with child endangerment in September 2008. Both women are out on $2500 dollar bond. NewsWest 9 tried to contact both women with numbers from the police report but was unable to contact them.
Odessa Christian officials say they've changed their policy and no longer allow anyone under four to go on field trips and they have a process to ensure all children are safely off the bus.