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Daycare operator gets 22 months in jail in death of 2-year-old girl

Last Updated May 19, 2017 at 5:23 pm EDT

A Vaughan daycare operator has been sentenced to 22 months in jail and three years probation after pleading guilty in the death of a two-year-old child.

Olena Panfilova pleaded guilty in April to criminal negligence causing death after the lifeless body of two-year-old Eva Ravikovich was found inside a sweltering SUV outside the overcrowded daycare. It was later determined the child had been left in the car for almost seven hours.

Panfilova’s husband and adult daughter were also found guilty of the same charge last year, and were sentenced to 30 days in jail, to be served intermittently on weekends, and given two years to each pay a $15,000 fine with a victim surcharge.

Eva’s mother says she’s glad for the closure but not the sentence.

“It is not what I expected and it’s shocking that she got that sentence,” said Ekaterina Evtropva.

“I do believe that 22 months in jail, with her probably being out in 15 months, would not do any good.”

Panfilova has apologized but that’s little comfort to Eva’s mother.

“I don’t believe in her apologies and I don’t see any sincere apology there,” said Evtropva. “She’s probably just sorry that she went to jail and that’s all she’s sorry for.”

An agreed statement of facts previoulsy read in court showed Panfilova arrived at the daycare at 9:30 a.m. in July 2013, removed all the children from the passenger side of her SUV but forgot Eva, who was strapped in a car seat on the driver’s side.

Panfilova said she did not realize she had left Eva sitting in the hot vehicle until sometime after 5 p.m.

The document said the vehicle likely heated up to at least 50 C by noon, adding the little girl died of heat stroke.

She later tried to cover up what had happened to Eva by pretending the child had died during a nap.

Ravikovich’s parents have also filed a lawsuit against the daycare operators and the Ministry of Education. Patrick Brown, a lawyer representing the parents, claims the Ministry had full knowledge of the illegal daycare and did not take appropriate steps to investigate.