Vermont Resort Daycare Tragedy: No Charges in Toddler’s Cistern Death


Vermont Police announced Tuesday that no criminal charges would be pursued in the tragic death of 3-year-old Tate Holtzman.

Tate’s life was tragically ended due to a catastrophic incident that took place while he was participating in a daycare program at Smugglers’ Notch Resort in July, resulting in his untimely passing.

The investigation’s findings revealed that Tate, from Cambridge, sustained fatal injuries after accidentally stepping on an unsecured cover to an underground cistern while under adult supervision near an outdoor splash pad. 

Despite valiant efforts by courageous teenage lifeguards who attempted to rescue him from the cistern, Tate tragically succumbed to his injuries days later at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Following Vermont State Police’s investigation, the Lamoille County state’s attorney opted against pursuing criminal charges in the case. This decision has prompted separate reviews by the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Vermont Department for Children and Families, responsible for overseeing licensed daycare providers.

Vermont’s Holtzmans Advocate for Water Safety

Vermont Police announced Tuesday that no criminal charges would be pursued in the tragic death of 3-year-old Tate Holtzman.


While Chief Marketing Officer Steve Clokey of Smugglers’ Notch Resort chose not to provide further comment, Tate’s grieving parents, Jennifer and Zachary Holtzman, conveyed their determination to honor their son’s memory. They plan to advocate rigorously for enhanced water safety measures to prevent similar tragedies from befalling other young children.

However, the family’s attorney, Jennifer Denker from Boston, hinted at the possibility of civil litigation. Denker stressed that the incident was preventable and resulted from a hazardous product lacking critical safety features, exacerbated by improper installation and insufficient warnings.

In the midst of this heartbreaking event, the Holtzmans’ unwavering dedication to advocating for water safety stands as a heartfelt homage to Tate, a poignant way to honor his memory and ensure that similar tragedies are prevented for other children.

Their advocacy sheds light on the critical necessity of bolstering safety protocols in public spaces frequented by children. As the family continues to navigate their grief, their dedication to preventing such heartrending incidents resonates profoundly within the community.

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