WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WREG) — An Arkansas couple says they are still having nightmares after their 5-year-old daughter was able to walk away from her West Memphis school Friday afternoon.

Lakisha Hester said she arrived at Richland Elementary around 3 p.m. to pick up her daughter Taylor, but the five-year-old was nowhere in sight.

“Stuff could have happened real bad,” Hester said. “I keep saying what if?”

Richland Elementary

She said teachers and staff didn’t even know she had left the building.

“How did she get out of that building? She’s a five-year-old,” Hester said. “She’s not supposed to leave that building without her father or me.”

Hester said an off-duty police officer working security told them he saw her daughter leave, and the school’s surveillance video showed Taylor getting in a stranger’s van with several other children.

“I was just going crazy but trying to stay as calm as possible,” she said.

She said they later discovered her daughter had gotten into a van with her friends. Hester said the woman driving didn’t know Taylor was in the back of the vehicle.

“It was like her daughter’s kids. She was a grandma, and she said when she realized Taylor was in the car, she panicked,” said Hester.

Taylor’s father, Tyron McCoy, said Richland has procedures in place to prevent this very thing from happening.

He said his daughter was assigned a number that had to match the number on the vehicle picking her up from school.

“My thing is if you all thrive on being safe and all this. How did you all let her get out?” said McCoy. “You just let the five-year-old do what they want to do?”

We contacted the West Memphis School District to find out how Taylor was able to leave the school on her own but have not heard back from anyone.

McCoy said they selected Richland because it’s a great school, but he no longer feels like his daughter is safe there.

He said they are in the process of filling out a complaint form with the West Memphis School District and enrolling Taylor in the Marion School District.

“I want her to have the best education but I want her to be safe,” McCoy said.

McCoy and Hester said they wouldn’t want any parent to experience what they did the moment they realized their daughter was missing.