2-year-old struck in head by stray bullet at Spanish Fork day care

May 23, 2023, 9:52 AM | Updated: May 24, 2023, 8:42 am

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Police are investigating after a toddler was hit in the head by a stray bullet at a Utah County day care facility.

Lt. Cory Slaymaker with the Spanish Fork Police Department said several children were playing in a fenced day care area located near 2000 North and 300 West on Monday when one boy appeared to stumble and was seen bleeding from his face.

The daycare notified the boy’s parents, who took the toddler to Utah Valley Hospital for treatment. Police said doctors discovered through scans that the boy had a small caliber bullet lodged in their head. He was transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital for further treatment and was in stable condition as of Tuesday morning.

“I still feel like I’m in shock,” said Lane Mugleston, who owns Leap Ahead Daycare with his wife. “We are absolutely surprised. We are dumbfounded that this would happen in Spanish Fork.”

Mugleston said they never thought that a stray bullet was the reason why the 2-year-old was bleeding from his face.

“Initially, we thought he just had tripped and hit his head,” he said.

Lane Mugleston, owner of Leap Ahead Daycare, showing the bullet hole left in the fence. (KSL TV)

On Wednesday, detectives announced they had identified a man who was shooting birds with a .22-caliber air rifle in the open fields that are west of the day care. Police said the man is cooperating as their investigation continues and the case will be sent to the Spanish Fork city prosecutor’s office for review of any charges.

The person of interest will not be named unless formal charges are filed.

“We do not believe that this was a targeted incident,” Slaymaker said. “We feel like this was more of an accident, and the person that probably did it doesn’t even know that they did it.”

Detectives found a small hole in the vinyl fence surrounding the daycare center that may have been caused by the bullet that hit the boy.

Police were notified Tuesday that doctors have decided to leave the bullet in the boy’s head for fear of causing further damage if the boy undergoes surgery to remove it.

“The doctors are monitoring him, and they said that his vitals are good and expect a full recovery,” Mugleston said. “So they think that that’s a blessing.”

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