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Parents: School Didn’t Know Where Natomas Girl, 7, Was For Two Hours

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NATOMAS (CBS13) — The parents of a second-grade student say nobody at the school knew where she was for more than two hours after she walked away.

As the 7-year-old girl wandered the streets of Natomas, her parents say nobody at Jefferson Elementary School contacted them or the police right away.

“They’ve lost our child for two hours,” said Damia Dillard. “At that moment you’re thinking, ‘Am I going to ever see my kid again?’”

It wasn’t anyone at the school who found Samaya Dillard wandering cold and alone back in December. It was her father and her two older sisters.

“Eventually when she talked, she said that she wanted to die,” her mother said.

A video from Samaya’s parents shows her singing at church. They say the once happy honor roll student is embarrassed and scared about what happened a few months ago.

It all began when Samaya got in trouble for a disagreement with a classmate.

“So Samaya is very upset, so she goes to put her head down like this,” her father Jason said.

When Samaya did that, she knocked over some water. That’s when they say her teacher, Lupe Rodriguez, dragged her in her chair outside and left her there through recess and reading class.

“She felt embarrassed her friends saw her sitting in that chair,” Jason said.

At that point, Samaya wandered 2.5 miles off campus, down Truxel Road to the Walmart and then to the restaurant On The Border.

Meanwhile, the Dillards say school leaders drove around looking for the girl. Her parents say the school didn’t contact them until an hour after they noticed she was missing.

Samaya walked back and was found at Pebblewood and Truxel by her father and twin sisters—a 5-mile trek.

While getting video of Samaya’s now-former school, the district’s media contact came over to us. He refused to go on camera.

The Dillards say to this day  they’ve never received an apology from the district.

“Now if my child is a problem, please send my child to the office and call me,” Jason said. “Don’t shame my child. Don’t sit my child outside and leave her.”

The Natomas Unified School District released a statement which read in part: “We can only say that we care deeply about the children in Natomas Unified School District, we take any allegation seriously, and we are firmly committed to the safety of our students and the best interests of the community we serve.”

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