A little girl lost her life in 2016 after her father’s girlfriend reportedly left her inside a hot car in a Pennsylvania parking lot. After hearing two days’ of testimony and evidence including a distressing 911 call, a Pennsylvania jury must decide if the child’s death was a crime or a tragic accident.
On Tuesday morning, according to Penn Live, a Lycoming County jury listened to a 911 call made on July 22, 2016, after 30-year-old Brittany Renee Borgess left Samaria Motyka, 4, inside a car for more than six hours, at a Williamsport parking lot off of the 500 block of West Fourth Street. As the sweltering summer heat reached temperatures of 97 degrees in Williamsport on the day in question, the little girl suffered for hours until she lost consiousness.
When first responders arrived, they found Samaria slumped in the passenger side floorboard with her head resting on the seat. She had unbuckled herself from a booster seat in the back seat of the vehicle and tried in vain to escape the heat. Once at Williamsport Regional Medical Center, her temperature registered at 110 degrees. Temperatures inside the vehicle had reached over 120 degrees.
“I went to work and she’s still in my car,” Borgess, barely audible, told a 911 operator after finding Samaria in the vehicle.
South Williamsport woman charged with death of 4-year-old locked in carBREAKING NEWS: Brittany Renee Borgess, 27, of South Williamsport, was taken into custody and arraigned before District Judge Christian Frey Thursday and is charged with the Involuntary Manslaughter of the death of 4-year-old Samaria Motyka on July 22. The girl died after being left alone in a locked car in a parking lot on West Fourth Street for the better part of the day. Here Borgess is seen leaving the Williamsport Bureau of Police station after being finger printed. She was taken to the Lycoming County Prison. See more in Friday's Sun-Gazette paper. ANNE REINER/Sun-Gazette
Posted by Williamsport Sun-Gazette on Thursday, August 18, 2016
Borgess later told authorities that she didn’t purposely leave Samaria in the car. She indicated she dropped her 2-year-old toddler off at daycare, then forgot to bring Samaria to a different daycare at another location. She’s been cooperative throughout the investigation, according to authorities.
Samaria’s mother, Sara Fox however, has maintained since her daughter’s death that she felt Borgess intentionally left the little girl to die. Fox also said she made several previous reports to social services after she discovered bruises and other alleged signs of abuse on Samaria, that only happened while over at her father’s home.
“Brittney [sic] will play a victim, will cry for the fear of what might happen to HER . She wont cry for my baby. No matter what her reaction was when she found her, it was a shock of realizing her plan followed through, and looking at a dead child isn’t easy, especially when you know you did it. Your plan worked….”
“In Brittneys [sic] care, my daughter Samaria Kay died. At 4yo, in a car that reached over 100 degrees , and she fought. Until she passed out, and then she would be gone minutes later. ANYONE would demand Justice for this. Especially knowing of a past with abuse and neglect already being an issue. An ongoing issue.”
Fox told CrimeOnline that Samaria would come home from her visiting at her father’s house with “bruises and markings around her neck like she had been choked.” Fox said she tried for emergency custody with child services in Lycoming County but didn’t receive full custody in time before her daughter’s death.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, Defense Attorney Peter T. Campana concurred that Borgess was the responsible party and that she indeed left the little girl inside the car. Yet, he echoed Borgess’ claim that it was an accident and said that evidence would show the death was not intentional.
Campana plans to call David Diamond to the stand, a professor of neuroscience at the University of South Florida. Diamond, who has studied “forgotten baby syndrome” extensively, which entails someone’s mind suppressing the “habit-based memory system.”
Lycoming County First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade argued that it would be difficult to forget about a little girl in a car with you.
“How in the world could someone miss a 4-year-old?”
Borgess was living with Samaria’s father, William Motyka, when the incident occurred. William Motka shared custody of the little girl with her mother. Samaria was at Motyka’s home for custody visitation on the day she died. Motyka left for work while Borgess stayed behind and got the children ready for daycare and school.
In addition to Samaria and the couple’s 2-year-old son, Borgess’ older, school-age daughter from a previous relationship was at the home that morning. The older daughter was not in the car when Borgess left with the two younger children.
Motyka testified that he saw Borgess at work on the day Samaria died. According to trial testimony, the couple discussed what the children ate at home that morning. Motyka stayed at Borgess’ workplace for around an hour, then left.
After the little girl’s death, the couple separated.
Borgess is charged reckless endangering, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of children.
Court resumes on Friday. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Samaria Motyka/Family Handout]