Pictured: Three-month-old baby who died on first day at an unlicensed daycare center in the trendy New York district of SoHo

  • A three-month-old baby has died at an unlicensed day care centre in SoHo
  • It was claimed Karl Towndrow was found unresponsive after a midday nap
  • He was then rushed to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later
  • Health authorities have confirmed the day care is now being investigated
  • Friends of his parents have so far raised $18,000 to help with expenses

A fundraising page has been set up to help the parents of a three-month-old baby who died on his first day at an unlicensed childcare center.

Karl Towndrow died just hours after his mother Amber dropped him off at SoHo Child Care, on Greene Street on Monday.

Emergency services were called to center as none of its employees were qualified to perform CPR, but found him unresponsive. Although he was rushed to hospital, he was later pronounced dead.

Now friends and colleagues of his distraught parents Lee and Amber have set up a fundraising page in a bid to help them with mounting funeral and hospital bills.

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Karl Towndrow died just hours after his mother dropped him off at the unlicensed daycare in SoHo

Karl Towndrow died just hours after his mother dropped him off at the unlicensed daycare in SoHo

Devastated: Parents Lee and Amber Towndrow dropped baby Karl off at the center and Amber headed to her first day back at work nearby

Devastated: Parents Lee and Amber Towndrow dropped baby Karl off at the center and Amber headed to her first day back at work nearby

The page states he died at Lennox Hill Hospital after going into cardiac arrest at the day care.

'Karl was beloved by his parents, who doted on him every moment. He was their joy and brought happiness to everyone who met him.

'His family and friends are grieving but are taking comfort in knowing they knew this sweet, innocent soul, even if it was all too brief.

'In an effort to help his parents, given the unexpected and significant expenses they are now facing, we are launching this campaign in Karl's memory. The funds will go towards any funeral expenses and support for the family.

'Karl's family would like to thank everyone who has offered their condolences and is offering support during this painful time.'

Tragic: The NYPD said they were concerned that an unlicensed baby day care center could have operated in SoHo in Manhattan for more than a decade 

Tragic: The NYPD said they were concerned that an unlicensed baby day care center could have operated in SoHo in Manhattan for more than a decade 

Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, officials at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said: 'We are saddened and concerned about this infant death and are working closely with law enforcement and A.C.S. on an investigation.'

The child was allegedly fed by the owner of SoHo Child Care, Maryellen Strautmanis, at about 10.30am that day using milk his mother left, the New York Daily News reported.

Authorities said that the center had been operating unlicensed for more than a decade.

'It's a little bit strange that they have been operating for some time,' said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce to ABC News.

'There were about 15 children there, anywhere from 3 years to 3 months. There were four employees, including the owner, who were tending for these children.

'It's the first day the child was there, a little unusual,' added Boyce. 

'The mother worked nearby, and she had recommendations of the locations from people who worked in the community. So she dropped off the child. It's the first day the baby was there.' 

Questioned: The day care center owner, Maryellen Strautmanis, was escorted away by NYPD for an interview on Tuesday afternoon 

Questioned: The day care center owner, Maryellen Strautmanis, was escorted away by NYPD for an interview on Tuesday afternoon 

The day care, which authorities say did not have a license, was operating on the second storey behind this door (centre) on Greene St 

The day care, which authorities say did not have a license, was operating on the second storey behind this door (centre) on Greene St 

But when she returned to check on him soon after he went to sleep, she saw his lips were blue and called 911.

The owner, who operated the day care center in a second floor apartment, has not been arrested.

Karl's parents, from Brooklyn Heights, released a statement through a family friend: 'Karl's parents appreciate the kind words and condolences they have received,' according to NBC New York.

'He was full of love and was treasured by all that met him. At this time, his parents ask for privacy as they grieve his short, wonderful life.'

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services and New York City Health Department are investigating.

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