Driver who killed child at Arcadia day care heads to prison; family lashes out in court

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Emotions ran high in a courtroom as a woman who killed a child at a day care was sentenced to prison after accepting a plea deal.

Kiara Morant changed her plea to guilty on Tuesday for the March 2022 crash into the Imagination Station daycare in Arcadia that killed 4-year-old Maleena Valdez.

When Morant’s father tried to apologize to the family, chaos ensued.

Law enforcement moved in to keep the two sides separated and prevent any further escalation.

At the change of plea hearing, one by one, family members of this little girl went up to the judge to express their feelings about Morant and pleaded for justice.

Morant changed her plea to guilty and apologized for crashing a Jeep through the fence of the Imagination Station’s playground, telling the judge she’s a child herself.

“Please go easy on me, for I am still a child myself,” she told the judge.

When Morant spoke, she apologized to Maleena’s family and pleaded for mercy.

“I would like to say that I apologize for the life I took that day,” she said before a victim’s family member yelled, “I don’t want to hear your sorry!”

The judge sentenced Morant to 10 years in prison with time served.

“Your family member is sent to prison,” said Josephine Valdez, Maleena’s Grandmother. “They’re not burying her. We had to cremate our baby. This is where our daughter is now. Our grandbaby. This is where Maleena is now. OK, where is theirs? In a cell. alive, breathing.”

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