Infant Drowns at Daycare

Infant Drowns at Daycare
By: Carly O'Keefe

Benton, IL - It’s a daycare tragedy. A 14-month-old toddler drowns in Benton after police say he slipped out of the front door unnoticed. Police say young Aren Loukes went into the front yard of Diane Dugger’s home daycare and fell into a landscape fish pond.

Dugger and another adult discovered the boy and called police around 12:30 Wednesday. Authorities believe the boy drown just before 11:30.

Spokeswoman Kim Broome of the Department of Children and Family Services says DCFS has never received any complaints or had to issue violations for the Dugger home which is a licensed daycare.

Neighbors say the boy’s death is a tragic accident that they would never have thought possible. Neighbor Karen Small says Dugger has always made every effort to keep the kids in her care safe, and treats them like her own. "She's a very loving person, she has Halloween parties for the kids, birthday parties for the kids, she bakes them cakes, and a lot of them don't get that in day care. She's real good to the kids,” Small said.

DCFS is aware of the child’s death and is investigating the incident along with Benton Police.

Visitation will be held Saturday from 10 to 12 noon at the Hobbs-Johnson Funeral Home in Benton. Funeral services will follow visitation at noon. Memorial contributions are being accepted at the funeral home for the Aren James Loukes memorial fund.