Vicente Cardenas' Family Shares Plea with Patch Readers

The Cardenas family continues to look for answers following the June 15 drowning of Vicente. 'In the dark' about how and why the 4 year old was left unattended by a Glenview child care center at Roosevelt Pool, the family asks witnesses for information.

To the Editor of Glenview Patch:

I am Vicente Cardenas's uncle and write once again on behalf of the family of Vicente Cardenas.

First, we would like to thank . We are very touched by the support of the community.

We continue to be frustrated by the and from the authorities. We understand from news reports that Wesley School has indicated that its .  

That explanation seems disingenuous. What is their point? Are they exercising their Constitutional right against self-incrimination? Then they should say so. 

On the other hand, if and its staff are cooperating with the authorities, then the least they could do is share with us whatever it is they told the police or to the Dept. of Child Services. If Wesley School is speaking to them, then they should speak to us. Surely that's not too much to ask for.

AS WE CONTINUE TO BE IN THE DARK, WE ARE ASKING ANYONE that has any videos from that terrible day (Friday, June 15th) at Roosevelt Pool to please step forward and share them with us.  

We are told that there were several birthday parties at the pool that day and it is possible that people made some videos. We are pleading with anyone that has a video to please let us know and share it with us. 

We promise to respect the privacy of the children on these videos and will not publish the faces of any children.  But we are hoping to obtain any possible evidence about the number of people at the pool, the possible location of Vicente's group, the Wesley School caregivers, the lifeguards, etc.

I can be reached at vgurvits@bostonlawgroup.com or 617-928-1804.

Thanks once again to you and all of your readers.

Very truly yours,

Val Gurvits

To read Patch's in-depth coverage of the June 15 drowning tragedy,

Becca July 05, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Wesley Camp Staff, Own up to what the family wants. ANSWERS. Why wasnt the child wearing his life vest, knowing he was special needs. He was a neighbors friend of ours. In the same program at Westbrook Preschool. Don't you give swim tests with the kids? All 4 year olds should wear life vests. All counselors should be watching their group. Life guards, at a crowded pool, cannot be responsible to watch one child. YOU ARE. THe parents signed up their children in your care and you didnt take responsibilty. I wouldnt be surprised if your camp ends. Park district camps give a hard test for the kids. My son had to jump in the deep end, with life quard and swim along side of him/her, with tube, and if my child was to grab on to that tube at any time, VEST, at the end of the 2 lap test in the deep water, if he tends to be winded of sink of sort wailing his arms to the end.........VEST!! What are your procedures. A waiver stating your child can swim in your program. With no testing of sort. Just rely on the child parents to say he can go to the pool? Shame on you. God bless this angel child that is not in the safe arms of god. TALK TO THE FAMILY. They want answers, and so do we, as a community.
Becca July 05, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Sorry, I meant to say, he is NOW in the arms of god, not, NOT. Horrible mistake. I was just so angry with this whole situation, not knowing, so that our community, can at least have answers too, so we dont make the mistake of sending our child to your camp. Since you dont seem to care about giving answers to the poor grieving family of a innocent 4 almost 5 yr. old child! Again, SHAME ON YOU!
Furious parent July 08, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Wesley school, your investigation is over. You alone are responsible for the life of a child. Get off your fancy chairs in the office over there and start explaining.
A Glenview Parent July 18, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I also have to voice my utter disbelief as to how Wesley Center has handled this. Does anyone know what the latest is on the investigations?
A Concerned Parent July 18, 2012 at 05:56 PM
No, I noticed the railroad disaster already has a preliminary investigative report and yet we've heard nothing regarding this tragedies investigation. Very sad!
A Glenview Parent July 18, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Last I heard, the current Wesley families will be asking the Wesley Board and their current administration for a meeting. Without any information, many of the families are still very wary leaving their children in the center's care. I also know that many of the families have been contacted by a few attorneys. The parents would not be able to sue Wesley directly but they can sue on behalf of their children. Especially those who were on site that day. It was explained that Wesley had a "duty to care" for these kids and though, tragically, we lost Vicente, each and every one of the other 18 children were put in harm's way and were in a dangerous situation. It was explained to me by one attorney that she speculates that the main reason for Wesley's silence, to all involved, is because if each parent knew what the Wesley staff were doing at the time of the loss, every parent would be suing the center individually for failure to provide safe environment.
A Concerned Parent July 18, 2012 at 06:27 PM
We actually took our child out of the program (he was in the same class as Vicente) immediately, but I would like to hear how this meeting goes down. I agree with the attorney, they (Wesley) must be very scared that the investigation results will be made public. Regardless of the impact, those results MUST be made public. The community has a right to know where the dange lies (i.e. Wesley, Park District, Lifeguards, etc.) even if it appears obvious to me.
Mom to 4 July 18, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The children who witnessed this event were victims as well. No child was safe that day, and an innocent child paid the price. Not to mention the grief and emotional trauma each of those children experienced. I am curious to hear the responses that parents received when they retrieved their children from the school that day. Business as usual? Unacceptable. There are no words for this tragedy and no child is safe under the direction and care of this school. God bless you Vicente.
A Concerned Parent July 19, 2012 at 05:24 PM
A Parent, Interesting you post the e-mail. First off, we never received any e-mails from Wesley - now in their defense, maybe they wrote the e-mail address down wrong. My child wasn't at camp that day or Monday. We received the e-mail from another parent who's child is friends with my child and knew we were out of town. I also noticed the time discrepency. Upon re-reading your posts today, I shudder to think of parents who did NOT know about this tragedy, only that there was an accident, and they reassured their child "Oh, it's okay, Vicente will be back at camp in a few days." They knowingly withheld information that could have been detrimental to answering our children's questions. Did the director or board member answer who took the children to the pool or why we as parents were never told that the teachers were NOT the one's caring for our children when they went to the pool? I am reluctant to say this but, I actually volunteered for the Lincoln Park Zoo field trip the Thursday before the tragedy. I mentioned to my wife when we returned that the teachers are very nice, but the whole trip seemed a bit disorganized. Aside from knowing where they wanted to eat lunch (they had brought sack lunches for all the children and had an idea for a shady spot to eat) the rest of the time it was just a day meandering around the zoo and the adjoining petting zoo. At one point my child, another child I was assigned (my child's friend who knew me) and I got a bit ahead (see part 2)
A Concerned Parent July 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
of the group. Luckily I was wearing very distinctive clothing and they found us. But I wonder now, was there ever a background check done as me as parent? Should there have been? I am not relaying this story to in any way cast blame, just something I've been thinking about since we found out about this tragedy. The teachers were probably instructed not to mention the accident at all at pickup on Friday and to just shoo the kids and parents out the door. They (Director/board members) probably wanted more time to gather information about the tragedy and to communicate with the daycare's lawyer before having 18 sets of parents demanding answers.
A Concerned Parent July 19, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Has anyone been given any update on when the investigation results will be released.
concerned July 24, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Patch Editors - any comments from the school or the Glenview PD on their investigation?
Joanna Schneider July 24, 2012 at 09:38 PM
@Concerned, Patch reached out to Glenview PD earlier this week regarding an update on any developments in the investigation. We were told there was 'nothing new to report' but will keep readers posted as soon as we receive any new information. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for up-the-minute news: www.facebook.com/GlenviewPatch
Joanna Schneider July 26, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@SadParent, would you like us to print your comment as a Letter to the Editor? We know you'd like to get this info to as many Glenview parents as possible.
Joanna Schneider July 26, 2012 at 05:36 PM
@SadParent, you can e-mail me your letter directly and we will run it on the site: joanna@patch.com
A Concerned Parent August 13, 2012 at 09:14 PM
@ A Sad Parent - I finally came around and e-mailed Carolina about my experience with Wesley. I am a bit disappointed though, as she gave no definitive answer on when they plan on releasing their report or why they won't allow the Glenview PD to release THEIR report. I am shocked that two institutions whose missions are to provide the public with safety are avoiding releasing information that could the youngest members of our community safe. It's shocking!!
Rick H August 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM
I’m a sad parent of this tragic accident also. Unfortunately, you are also malicious and clueless. it is very obvious you are angry, probably at something much deeper than what transpired on that tragic day and I feel sad for you. It is common knowledge for anyone in business that lawyers ( Val Gurvits is well aware of this and is just doing his job) prevent anyone from commenting on an active investigation or one that may involve a lawsuit. My children have attended Wesley childcare for over 15 years and I have been made well aware of the steps they take to protect the children attending. From what I know (I, again, suggest you educate yourself) they actually have processes and systems in place that go well above what is expected of them. I have the utmost confidence in the teachers and directors of Wesley and am confident they followed the procedures necessary to protect “their/your/our” children. It is so sad and tragic that terrible accidents occur. I too would be grieving if it were one of my children and anger is part of that process. That does not give you the right to maliciously attack an organization, or the people within it, with fact less based comments or accusations. Allow the Cardenas’ family to grieve on their own. Wouldn’t you want that? Professionally, it's the responsibility of the Cardenas’s attorney to inform them why it’s very unfortunate all their questions can’t be answered at this time.
Rick H August 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Wow! I hadn’t read all your comments before I responded to one of your prior blogs. You are not a sad parent and I feel sorry for your child/children as they watch and learn from you every day. No child should have to be parented by someone as malicious and vindictive as you. I’m sure this same behavior carries over in other parts of your life also. I will pray for you.
A Concerned Parent August 18, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Rick, It's time for this investigation to end and the truth be told. If they had processes and systems in place, a child would not have found little Vicente that awful day, the teacher responsible for him would have located him or better yet, would have realized he was having trouble before the tragedy took place. I'm glad you've had 15 years of uneventful childcare from Wesley. My son was in Vicente's class and we never received any information regarding this tragedy. That seems awfully unprofessional. Unfortunately it takes only 1 mistake to ruin a reputation. The fact is this child died in the care of Wesley and unless the investigation shows he passed away from something other than drowning (i.e. heart problem) the responsibility lies at the feet of those who were caring for him that day. That, again, is a fact, not an accusation, Mr Gurvits has said that Wesley won't even discuss what Vicente was like the morning of this awful incident. Any lawyer should allow their client to discuss events that nothing to do with the events at hand. This poor family was generally just given his backpack and shown the door. Grieve on their own? Everyone here grieves WITH them and only wishes they would be given the facts of their child's death. We are well passed the 60 days, it's time to know the truth.
Rick H August 18, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I’m aware of similar type situations where lawyers “highly suggest" their clients not comment on anything relating to an incident during an investigation and/or lawsuit. This could go well beyond 60 days. In most cases, the defendants want to be heard and communicate their side of the story and it pains them not to be able to do that (my own personal experience) but follow the advice of their legal department. I have no problem with individuals being persistent for their own closure but many of the comments made by you and A Sad Parent are inappropriate at a minimum. Based on some of her comments, it appears as though she continues to keep her child/children at Wesley. If she truly believed the day care were inept/incompetent/neglectful and she knowingly subjected her child/children to all she claims, she should be investigated by DCFS for child abuse at a minimum. Even if her accusations in reality are false, she believes them to be true and, in my eyes that is the highest form of abuse.
A Concerned Parent August 18, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Not commenting on the incident, I understand, not being able to tell these people what their child did the morning of his death - well before they went to the pool - to me is inexecusable. Inappropriate? All I want is the investigation to be finished - this was a drowning, not a murder or car crash where a lot of re-enactments or forensic testing needs to be done. Furthermore, maybe Wesley isn't fully responsible at all and it was a failure of the Park District. Doesn't the public have a right to know if their public pools are safe? Also with school starting soon and Wesley contracted by the district, isn't it appropriate for parents to know if the environment they leave their children is safe?
Rick H August 18, 2012 at 08:25 PM
I’m trying hard not to get baited into your level but even I have my limits! 1. Why is it any of YOUR business (or mine) as to what the child did the morning of the incident? What relevance is it to you? Did the family hire you as an investigator or are you their attorney? 2. From what I know, Wesley’s reputation in the district is impeccable. The quality of their staff goes above any daycare I’ve ever interviewed. They are routinely measured and monitored by DCFS and to my knowledge have always focused on continuous improvement. Karma has a way of dealing with people that focus on ruining peoples lives. People that don’t enjoy their own life enough so they want to be the judge and jury of other peoples lives. Someone must have really hurt you at some point in your life. I feel sorry for you.
A Concerned Parent August 18, 2012 at 09:10 PM
My comments regarding what the child did the morning of his death come straight from the family. THAT is the only reason I mentioned it. Wesley has yet to give the parents even minimal answers. The same may be asked of you - are you the voice of good for Wesley? This is a public forum where people can talk publicly about the incident - freedom of speech is a first ammendmant right, isn't it? As for their reputation, I'm sure it will take a hit after this tragedy. As someone mentioned in another forum on this topic, a daycare in Lincolnshire ended having to close after a death occurred at their facility. As I've said numerous times - and Joanna can back me up, because she knows I ask constantly - is that I am more curious to the findings of the investigation with regards to the public pool. Wesley will feel the repercussions of this event for years to come. You keep wanting to make this personal, so your comments about lowering to MY level is humorous. I am not attacking anyone personally to ruin their lives, I am only saying that the public as a whole has a right to know the facts, regardless of who, if anyone, is at fault, be it the Glenview Park District, Wesley, etc. Do you not agree that we have that right as a community?
A Glenview Mom August 19, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Dear Rick H. There is nothing malicious or clueless with what many are asking for or saying here. So maybe you need to check yourself before posting your self-righteous ridiculous viewpoints. To be clear: 1. You did not lose your child. 2. You did not have a child on site to witness the event and then not told anything about it. 3. Wesley Child Care is NOT withholding information or not tell you the truth about your child. 2 of the 3 apply to me and I've said nothing but will. I can tell you I'm mad, frustrated and sickened for every day that passes and still nothing is said. But in fairness, If your argument holds true (and this goes for the comments made by M. Hugo and anybody else who feels that Wesley needs defending) then it is as ridiculous as defending John Wayne Gacy by saying that he couldn't have killed all those people just because he was a pretty good clown for all those years before they found the bodies. Sincerely, A Parent of 2 Wesley Children who is desperately trying to find another center that isn't filled to capacity!
Rick H August 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Just to be clear: 1. The sole purpose of my initial response was to help the individuals on this blog who choose to be "willfully uninformed". Lawyers that I have worked with expect clients to respond "no comment" to any inquiry regarding anything relating to an incident. This was a tragic accident and not knowing the details on "your" timeline can be hard. It has nothing to do with hiding information and anyone that did a little research would have learned that. 2. I am appalled at all of you that continue to use your children as pawns. You clearly state Wesley is an unsafe place (I totally disagree) and yet you keep your children there. Clearly speaks to the type of people you are. 3. To be clear, one of my children were at the pool that day.
A Concerned Parent August 21, 2012 at 04:10 PM
1. I completely understand the "no comment" advice, however, that is not what happened here. Parents have commented that the teachers admitted to outright lying to the parents about the events - as instructed by the directors. Also, in their letter to the parents the evening of the tragedy, they omitted the fact that Vicente has passed away 3 hours prior to the letter being sent, making it sound like he was recovering. 2. My son was removed the moment we got back into town, but as some have said, finding daycare with openings appears to be the stumbling block. 3. I pray for your child that they didn't see this terrible tragedy or worse yet, be the ones to find him at the bottom of the pool.
A Concerned Parent August 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Oh one other thing Rick, why do you have to disparage people posting here? No one is attacking you or anyone at Wesley personally.
Becca August 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I would also like to mention, that the teachers at the camp are not the counselors. From what I have heard. They hire out counselors like any camp does. There is so much blame on everyone here, it is getting rather sad. We, as parents, even if our kids are older then the age limit, want answers, and they deserve answers, I would want to. My neighbor was in his class at Westbrook, he was in the special Ed portion of that class in preschool. With the same teacher. He may have not been as special needs as others were, but still, that person in charge of that child should have been watched. I know, they wonder, the kids. It is hard to keep track. But with a ratio of that matter, it should have been prevented. So hurry up and end this investication so we can hear and tell our children how to behave at pools and places that require more attention. This should have never happened. Life guards, and believe me, I have watched them for years, have a whole system down. They do drills during swimming time, they have eyes. The pool was so crowded, that it is too bad their eyes did not see in time. I hope the The family gets the story, and SOON! This has been dragging on way to long. WAY TO LONG!!!
A Glenview Parent August 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM
There seems to be some confusion at DCFS- The licensing department says they are close to completing their investigation but the lead investigator from DCFS (Carolina Bono) says they've extended the time of the process and that it is up in the air as to when they could be done. Glenview Police Department also says they are within days of releasing the Police report but they cannot until DCFS is done with their part. Yes, you are correct, the preschool director is on leave. One parent told me that they thought it was because she is working with her legal team but I do not know that to be the case.
A Concerned Parent August 29, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Based on the known facts in this tragedy, I have to believe that DCFS is doing a full scale investigation on Wesley as a whole, there is no way a drowning investigation should take this long. If that is the case, they should allow Glenview PD to release their findings. Not having this done before school started leaves the possibility that families could be left in the lurch if DCFS were to come in and close down Wesley (again, the day care center in Lincolnshire was forced to close).


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