When you become a parent, you develop a peculiar kind of ferocity, an almost violent desire to protect your child. Everyone knows what it means when you call someone a “mama bear.”
We react with an ursine aggression if someone threatens the little lives under our care. So I completely understand the sick rage that must’ve enveloped a Pascagoula, Mississippi, mother when her 18-month-old son was attacked while in daycare.
On Dec. 6, Latoye Sutter got a text message that must’ve made her heart stop dead in her chest. The daycare where she left her little boy, Dakota Hudson, explained that another child had scratched him.
“I asked [the daycare operator] to send me some photos,” Sutter told WOIO. “It took her a minute to send them back, but when I saw the photos I left immediately.”
Gashes and gouges covered Dakota’s face. They started at his hairline and crisscrossed down his face.
The wounds continued all the way down to his chin. However, they seemed clustered about his eyes.
“When I made it to the house, she was holding my son,” Sutter said. “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.” Given the extent of Dakota’s injuries, that length of time seemed suspect to Sutter.
That number of scratches couldn’t have happened in the space of a few seconds. Later, the owner would admit that she didn’t know how long she’d been away, and the attack might’ve continued on for up to five minutes.
Dakota had been sleeping on a cot in the dark when a 4-year-old began attacking him.
“She said they were okay,” Sutter said, “and the next thing she knew my son was crying.”
Sutter immediately took Dakota to a nearby hospital. While he was being examined, medical professionals called police and the Department of Human Services to investigate.
They soon learned that the daycare wasn’t licensed. And while Mississippi law doesn’t require every daycare to get licensed, the Sun Herald noted that licensed facilities have to meet certain requirements.
For instance, children may not be left alone in licensed daycares. Also, any serious injury automatically requires for the child to be treated at a hospital or other medical facility.
Though Dakota should recover fully, it may take a while. His eyes were injured in the attack, and he needs to have medicine put in them twice daily.
His father, Trent Hudson, noted the change in Dakota’s demeanor, saying, “He’s going to be staying with his grandmother for a while. He doesn’t want to play with kids like he used to.”
Meanwhile, the state has shut down the daycare. According to WXXV, the attack is still under investigation.
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