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Mother who witnessed toddler's death following Kool Smiles visit gives her side

Mother who witnessed toddler's death following Kool Smiles visit gives her side

YUMA, Ariz. - With reports of two young kids dying following a trip to a local dental office, a witness spoke about the day two-year-old Zion Gastelum visited Kool Smiles.

ABC15 spoke to Ilene Evengelista who was sitting in the same waiting room as Zion Gastelum, waiting for her daughter’s turn to see the dentist at Kool Smiles.

Evengelista described to ABC15 how the mood inside Kool Smiles changed when a nurse urgently asked the secretary to make a phone call. Her three-year-old daughter was there for the same procedure.

When ABC15 asked the mother if the procedure was necessary, Evengelista responded," Yes, I said why can't they just fall out that's when they said it could grow in deeper affect the nerves and future teeth as they grow in."

Evengelista shared with ABC15 that what shocked her most is that Kool Smiles staff continued with business, as usual, following two-year-old Zion being rushed out in a stretcher. She said she is grateful her daughter is still with her.

News 11 reached out to a Kool Smiles representative, and they shared the following statement:

"The Kool Smiles family expresses our sincere, heartfelt sympathy to the family of Zion Gastelum. Our hearts are breaking for Zion's family at this very sad time. Since Kool Smiles' founding nearly twenty years ago, we have safely and compassionately provided needed dental care through more than 19 million patient visits. Our dedicated dentists, anesthesiologists and the rest of our Kool Smiles family join the community to mourn this tragic loss."

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