A 7-week-old baby died on Sunday after being left in a van in Mary Esther, Florida, marking the 18th time this year a child has died in a hot vehicle in 2017 alone.
NWF Daily News reports that the baby was left in the van for around eight hours. At around 9:30 p.m., a family dialed 911 and said they weren’t aware that the baby had been left behind in the vehicle at a friend’s home.
On Monday, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office stated that a family member told them that they weren’t aware that the mother placed the baby in a rear-seated car seat after church, at around 12:45 p.m. The heat index that day reached up to 104 degrees.
The medical examiner’s office is currently working on determining the child’s official cause of death.
According to the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at San Jose State University, this is the 3rd time a child in Florida died in a hot car in 2017. The state with the most hot car deaths so far this year is Texas, with seven children dead.
In most instances, parents or caregivers accidentally forget their child in the vehicle. However, although rare, some family members or caregivers purposely leave their child in a car. For instance, in June, a mother in Weatherford, Texas, reportedly admitted that she left her two children locked in a car to “teach them a lesson.”
The story is still developing. Check back with Crime Online as additional details become available.