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State reverses Doodle Bugs! choking decision

Posted at 12:13 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 17:47:50-04

What really happened to Kadyn Levine while he was at daycare last summer? It's a question 7 Eyewitness News has been investigating for months.

Kadyn's parents say workers at Doodle Bugs! in Cheektowaga did not follow protocol when their son choked on a pretzel. While Kadyn recovered, Erie County CPS investigated and agreed with the parents.

This month, the Office of Child and Family Services reversed that finding, confirming daycare workers acted appropriately.

The Erie County CPS caseworker who investigated the incident and Doodle Bugs! agree that surveillance video shows the toddler choking on a pretzel.

The caseworker wrote in her report, "Kadyn appears to have gone at least partially unconscious while choking and was turning blue/purple, completely stopped breathing, went limp and was foaming at the mouth..."

"It shows him back-arched, the hands are dangling, his head's back no support,  helpless, he's helpless," said Kadyn's father Ben Levine who also viewed the surveillance video.

Last August in several email conversations with 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jill Perkins, Doodle Bugs! CEO Anthony Insinna repeatedly denied Kadyn lost consciousness.

Insinna wrote, "In viewing the incident video 10 times last night (August 3rd), there is not a second where the child appears laying back, limp, head back, arms hanging..."

"The gagging/coughing episode lasts a whole 10 seconds..."

Insinna's claims contradicted the CPS caseworker's findings that Kadyn was choking for approximately a minute and a half.

Doodle Bugs! appealed that finding as well as the caseworker's determination that daycare employees failed to "provide medical attention for a serious choking incident."

A spokesperson for Doodle Bugs! provided 7 Eyewitness News with the OCFS report that reversed the decision, clearing Doodle Bugs! of any wrongdoing. The report says in part  "evidence is determined to not be credible."

The state's decision relies heavily upon the surveillance video and not on the testimony of Doodle Bugs! staffers who described to the CPS caseworker what they say happened to Kadyn.