Nothing will bring back little 2-year-old Jazmin Green, the Jonesboro, Ga., toddler who suffocated to death in a van on a hot summer day last year after daycare workers accidentally left her behind.
But for her parents and the teenager whose mistake led to the tragedy, there now is at least a sense of closure and a measure of forgiveness thanks to a thoughtful decision by a juvenile court judge, CBS reports.
A year after Jazmin's emotional funeral, which featured top-hatted mourners and a tiny white casket topped by a pink teddy bear in a spray of pale pink roses -- as pictured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution -- the case recently came to a legal conclusion.
After daycare worker Miesha Ridley, who incorrectly checked off that Jazmin was out of the van, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, Judge Steve Teske decided that prison wasn't the proper punishment for the otherwise promising 17-year-old.
"She's not a bad kid," Teske told CBS News. "It was a mistake, and yes it was horrendous mistake, but at that juncture, how we respond to her, is going to define the rest of her life."
The judge ordered the teen to create a memorial for Jazmin, along with two years probation.
Such a tragedy is not unique - last week, a daycare center in Dallas was closed pending an investigation into the death of a 3-year-old boy found unconscious inside a sweltering van outside the center, reports the Associated Press. Erica Hooks, a van driver at Little T's Tiny Tots center was arrested and charged with injury to a child - when she drove a group of children back to the center from a movie, the boy stayed on the bus and wasn't found for another 2 1/2 hours.