DORCHESTER (CBS) – Boston police have identified the 17-month-old who died in a locked van in Dorchester on Monday.

Gabriel Pierre was found dead in the day care van parked in front of Gloria Luna’s Family Day Care on Floyd Street in Dorchester.

“Our family is heartbroken over the loss of our beautiful son, Gabriel. Gabriel was a very happy child and his picture says everything. We are asking everyone to please be respectful of our privacy as we try to grieve and cope with our unimaginable circumstance,” said Virginia Cazir, the boy’s mother, in a statement.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

Police said Gabriel did not attend that day care, but was supposed to be dropped off at another facility Monday.

It appears he was inside the van for up to six-and-a-half hours before he was found around 3:30 p.m.

The van driver, Luis Matos, is married to the owner of the day care, which, as a result of the investigation, has been shut down for the time being and cited for numerous violations.

His friends call him a hard-working and deeply religious man. Tuesday night they gathered at St. Andrew’s Church in Jamaica Plain for prayers and support of Matos, who police say found the 17-month-old boy left behind in his transportation van.

“Physically he’s much better, but he told me emotionally it’s very, very tough,” said friend Juan Valerio who leads the congregation at the church and visited Matos in the hospital where he is suffering from stress. He says Matos is active and well respected in the Dominican community, and calls what happened a terrible mistake.

“I know from the bottom of my heart it was nothing intentional,” he said. The van was parked in front of the Gloria Luna family daycare on Floyd Street in Dorchester, a facility owned by Matos’ wife.

An autopsy will be done to determine how the child died.

Grieving relatives and friends visited the mother earlier in the day.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

gabrieldorchesterbaby2 Police Search For Answers In Toddler Day Care Van Death

Virginia Cazir with her son Gabriel (Photo Credit: Boston Police)

“He was a joy, just a joy, a bunch of smiles.  He was so handsome, he was so cute.  It was just all smiles when you saw him.  He lit up a room,” Myrthza Ladouceur said.

The driver was reportedly distraught after the discovery.  He was taken to a hospital where he was treated for chest pain.

The Inspectional Services Department will hold an administrative hearing for the property which houses Gloria Luna’s Family Day Care on Thursday September 15.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.

Comments (23)
  1. Joan Hogan says:

    This Is Such A Trajedy . My Heart Breaks for this Baby and his Family, Laws should
    be enacted to prevent a trajedy like this from happening again. The Day care programs In the State of Massachusetts should be required to have a monitor. I
    would certainly hope legislation would be enacted to make this a requirement. The
    Monitor On Day Care vans Shouldnot be a request but Mandated.

    1. JohnC says:

      I believe that there are laws in place that prohibit the leaving of animals and children unattended in motor vehicles.

  2. Bostion_Jared6 says:

    All places of “care” should be monitored 100% of the time.
    Whether it’s nursing homes or child daycares, they all need video monitoring and much stricter laws in place to stop the very common neglect that sadly happens on a daily basis.
    No stranger is ever going to care about your loved ones more than you.
    Parents and people in general need to keep this in mind when thinking about using these places for kids,elders,disabled,etc.


    1. JohnC says:

      Monitored by whom? How would a video camera show an inoperative CO monitor? Are you going to have video cameras in every vehicle that transports children? How many people would it take to watch the hundreds, perhaps thousands of video screens that would be required for such a program? Who would pay for this system (three guesses)? I agree totally with your sentiment, but monitoring the entire daycare and nursing home systems “100% of the time” is simply impractical.

  3. KF4766 says:

    What a beautiful little boy. My heart breaks for this family.

  4. SO SAD says:

    I feel soo bad for the family and my heart aches. My question is HOW in the HELL do you forget about a little boy in the car?

  5. JKT says:

    My thoughts and prayers to the family for the loss of this beautiful boy. An absolute tragedy. My heart breaks for this family, and I am sure I cannot begin to imagine their grief.
    I am wondering if the daycare to which the child was to be dropped off called anyone to find out why he never arrived as expected? It would at least have triggered an early alert that something was wrong and to find out where he was. School systems have such a safety check for any non-reported absences. I don’t know if required for daycare, but maybe it should be, to add this safety check to possibly avoid a tragedy like this in the future.

    1. KF4766 says:

      So true – a simple phone call may have made all the differnce.

  6. wendy says:

    My heart aches…as a monther of 3 I could never imagine such a tragedy :( My heartfelt sympathy goes out to this family. May you find peace in the beautiful times you shared with him.

  7. Crys, Merrimack NH says:

    Virginia, I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what you must be going thru right now. :(
    R.I.P. Gabriel.

  8. Eileen says:

    I am so sick of hearing “this was just a mistake” every time something this horrible happens. You lock your keys in the van, THAT’S a mistake. You leave a baby in a van to die, that’s a hell of a lot more than “just a mistake”.

  9. jaygee says:

    The child didn’t even belong at that facility so we have to assume that the driver went home and never checked the van to see if all the children were transported to where they were supposed to be. This isn’t simply a “mistake” but rather, gross negligence resulting in the death of a 1 year old child. The wife was breaking laws at her facility and it’s clear that the husband was thinking more about $$$$$$ than the job he was being paid to perform. I hope the victim’s mother gets a good lawyer and nails the two of them to a wall.

  10. Ron T says:

    Hopefully, today’s technology can help in the future, maybe with a mandatory sensor safety device in every passenger seat, that could sound some kind of alarm, as a backup to notify the driver, that someone is still onboard, before he or she exits the bus!

    Top priority for every driver, is to VERIFY the bus being empty before exiting the bus!

  11. Willow says:

    This is a horrible tragedy, and one that shouldn’t have happened. Such a beautiful child, and now grieving parents. Leaving a child behind has happened before, and should be addressed so that no other child dies alone in this way. I’m sure every mother who has heard this story is heartbroken over the loss of this precious one. Come on MA lawmakers, let’s do something about this so that it never happens again.

  12. emom says:

    Such a tragedy, again a child left in a vehicle, I thought bus drivers where to walk up and down the bus to be sure there were no more kids on a bus. I know my town requires that, I saw many bus drivers doing just that a week ago, both large and small busses… It should be a law now.. To many kids suffer. it’s a senseless act. Maybe a law should be put in place that requires ALL transport vehicles, to be absolutely sure there is no one left on them. Regardless the age.

  13. lisa says:

    iim so sorry for ya loss mama and the entire family, oh god if that happen to my babies i dont know what i would do . i feel for you and i am sad that you had to loose your precious baby. i can only image the pain you must be feeling . noone can truly understand unless it is them that is going through it . you use to protect your baby and know your little angel watches down over you and protects you , so heartbreaking that this his life had to end so early along , god bless your family and your little angel

  14. another mother says:

    why didn’t the day care he was suppose to go to call the mother and find out why he wasn’t there. there must have been an emergency number for the baby if something happened, like not showing up . sorry this is a case of neglect on both the driver and the day care he was suppose to go to. no one seemed to care about the baby

  15. Joan Hogan says:

    I agree their was definitely Negligence Involved In this case. The Driver Of the Van ,
    The daycare the child was supposed to be at should have contacted the Mother and other relatives of this Baby. ,To ask where Is he ! ? My childs school calls me
    If my Child did not arrive @ school , and he Is much older. Boston Public Schools
    Transportation Is careless as well. They have a history of picking children up too early from school, Not showing up to pickup children In the Morning, or afternoon,
    and not providing monitors when required for a child (s) safety.

  16. jaygee says:

    There is plenty of fault to go around but let’s put 99% of it on the guy who shut the door on the van after making sure the windows were up, the doors were locked and the van was parked for 6 hours in the sun. If you are driving a van and transporting young kids to daycare then how hard is it to check the bloody van before going for breakfast and lunch?

    1. Chris Duverna says:

      Your stupid for aying tht because NUMBER ONE the van WASNT BLOODY… Its not like the child was shot… Or stabbed to death. If it was dont you think it would have noticed early???? And why put it on the driver… Yeah he did a horrible mistake but danm really?? YOu make it seem like he did that on purpose. && How do you know if the window were up the whole ttime he was driving. He could’ve had an A/C in there. stop jumping into conclusions and let the Police do all the work.

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