Parents settle civil suit in daycare death

March 5, 2010 4:42:21 PM PST
The parents of a toddler who died after being thrown by a daycare worker are talking publicly for the first time.

Those who have experienced the loss of a child say they wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. On Friday, Andy and Amy Kingan shared that pain after settling a civil suit against Minee Subee Daycare in Lincolnshire, where their son was fatally injured.

"Ben was a very bright boy," said Andrew Kingan. "He was very close to his sister Emily and every morning when they wake up they would greet each other and talk."

Benjamin Kingan, 16 months, died on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, when he was thrown to the ground by his caregiver, Melissa Calusinski. According to police, Calusinski was frustrated about being left alone to care for eight toddlers, which is contrary to state law. When the story came out, Ben's funeral was postponed to give time for a full investigation.

"What Amy and Andy learned was Ben did not die... Ben was killed. They later learned that the trust they had in the daycare facility was betrayed and that rules and regulations of the state of Illinois were violated on a routine basis," said Francis Patrick Murphy , attorney, Corboy & Demetrio.

After the investigation, the Kingans buried their son and the daycare was shut down.

"It ruined a lot of lives... And you know obviously it has ruined our family's life the most, and I think about Ben and what he would be like when he grew up," said Amy Kingan, mother.

The $2 million civil settlement with the daycare owner's insurance company represents the maximum that could have been paid out under the policy. The parents say the money will go to providing their three other children with experiences their brother will never have

"No amount of money would bring him back. We would give everything we had to have him back but we are just looking for closure," said Amy Kingan.

"Be an advocate for your children. Be careful with them. They are your most precious gift," said Andrew Kingan.

Calusinski remains in custody. She had a status hearing Friday, which the Kingans attended, as they do every court appearance. A first-degree murder trial could start as early March 15.