Former Daycare Owner to Pay $10K in Restitution - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Former Daycare Owner to Pay $10K in Restitution

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MISSOULA -

A former Missoula daycare owner will pay $10,000 in restitution to the family of a 3-year-old boy, who was left alone in a van on a hot summer day last year.

In district court on Thursday, Melanie Hoke pleaded no contest to failure to report known or suspected child abuse and neglect as part of a plea deal.

Hoke said she was not technically working on the day in question, and drove separately from the Tot Town daycare group, and met them at the movie theater.

That's when two of Hoke's employees brought 20 daycare children into the theater, but left the 3-year-old boy in the van.

The boy's grandmother said she doesn't support Hoke's plea deal, but she won't put her grandson through the stress of a jury trial.

Cheryl Mamuzich, the boy's grandmother, said in a statement, "Where is the responsibility? Where is the adult behavior we would expect from someone licensed to care for our children?"

"I didn't know who was there from the daycare, I didn't have a count of who was or wasn't there that day," Hoke said.

The boy's grandmother says he's been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

She will serve six months unsupervised probation, and must pay the $10,000 in restitution within six months.

The state revoked Tot Town's license last August.

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