Every parents' worst nightmare was a reality for one West Salem mother. When she went to pick up her daughter from daycare, hours after the first day of school ended, she learned her daughter never made it there.
Red Balloon Early Learning Center in West Salem was supposed to pick up six-year-old Olivia Murphy around 3 p.m. yesterday after the first day of school. But when the school day was over, Olivia waited at the school, and no one from Red Balloon showed up.
That's when an exciting first day of school, was turned into a horrific few hours for Jamie Murphy and her daughter.
"School was over at 3:10, when I arrived at the daycare it was 5:30, that's over two hours and some odd minutes that my daughter was unaccounted for," said Murphy.
Murphy says they were the worst two hours of her life.
"All the evil things that you could think, run through your head , it's been two hours do you know how much can happen in two hours? someone could have picked her up someone could be a state away by now, am I gonna see my daughter again? am I gonna find my daughter again?"
When the daycare center never showed up to pick up Jamie's daughter after school, her daughter did the only thing a six-year-old could do at the time:
"When the boys and girls club came, she simply followed them because she didn't know what else to do," Murphy said.
And that's when the Boys and Girl's Club noticed an unfamiliar young face, and after learning about where Olivia was supposed to be, they decided to drive her to the daycare.
"When I initially went up to the car and pulled her out, I was so happy to see her that I sat down in the middle of the street and just cried," Murphy said.
Now that Jamie is reunited with her daughter, she wants answers.
"Why did you not go out and look for my daughter if you knew she had to be picked up? And they couldn't answer that. And why was I never called? I never received a phone call at all about my daughter not being at daycare."
West Salem School District officials say parents and care providers typically coordinate details to make sure their children know who to look for when they are getting picked up from school.
"What service are you gonna be providing to get us home, and or am I going to do that? I mean that's a conversation the two them should have," said Troy Gunderson, superintendent of West Salem School District.
And Jamie says that was the exact conversation she had with the daycare center.
"My daughter was supposed to have been picked up by their shuttle van, which I had signed paperwork for two days earlier with one of their staff, and given it back to them, she was supposed to be picked up and taken back to the daycare and she wasn't there."