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Court enters motion of continuance in deadly daycare crash case

Posted at 10:42 AM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 17:14:02-04

ARCADIA, Fla. — The woman charged with hitting and killing a 4-year-old girl on the playground of a DeSoto County daycare had her next court appearance scheduled this morning.

Kiara Morant, the woman charged, pleaded not guilty in her court appearance.

It's been nearly four months since Maleena Valdez was killed.

The court entered a motion of continuance today, meaning we will have to wait for a trial date. The state attorney's office said this morning’s hearing was when the defense would say whether they are ready for trial. But, Kiara Morant’s attorney waived her court appearance meaning she wasn’t present.

In the court room this morning was Maleena’s family. They say they were not happy with today’s proceedings, but will continue showing up to court.

“Not happy at all," said Josephine Valdez, Maleena’s grandmother. "But that’s not going to stop us from coming to every court date and we just hope that we get justice for Maleena and this is what we’re here for. Justice for Maleena, our baby girl who should be with us here today.”

“We don’t want him to end up giving her a slap on the wrist," said Savannah Valdez, Maleena’s mother. "That’s why we’re going to show our faces and when it’s time for us to speak up, we’re going to speak up.”

Maleena’s family have filed a lawsuit against the daycare. They wouldn't speak about it, but court documents show they want $30,000 in damages.

The lawsuit also says the daycare knew — or should have known — the location of the playground created unreasonable risk of injury. The owners of the Imagination Station did not want to talk about the lawsuit.

Moran’ts new court date is set for August 9.