A Florida mother has been criminally charged for last week’s death of her 2-year-old daughter, whom she allegedly left in a hot car for eight hours as she slept in their home.
Escambia police said Joy Monell was found dead in a white minivan outside the Aqua Porta Apartments at 4 p.m April 10. The toddler’s mother, Jessica Monell, 36, had picked up her daughter from relatives at 12:30 a.m., according to WEAR.
Jessica and Joy reportedly arrived at her apartment complex at 6 a.m. Police told the news station that she forgot her daughter in the car and woke up to find her daughter dead. The Pensacola News Journal reported that Jessica called her father that afternoon saying her daughter was dead, leading him to go to the home and perform CPR on the lifeless toddler in the living room as he talked to 911.
Ronald Monell reportedly said he was the first one to arrive at the scene. When he entered his daughter’s apartment, he saw her on the living room floor talking to 911 and attempting to perform CPR on Joy. Responding officers found Jessica sobbing on the living room floor and partially covered with a blanket, according to the news outlet.
An arrest report stated that a family member described the mother and daughter as “night owls” who would often stay up all night and sleep during the day. Upon a search of Jessica’s home, deputies reportedly found three bags containing crystal meth, a bag containing suspected crystal meth, a bag of Tramadol, two bags and a container holding less than 20 grams of marijuana, syringes, and a single Xanax pill.
WEAR reported that Jessica consented to a blood test at the scene. Authorities haven’t disclosed the results of that screening.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded a heat index of 82 degrees in Pensacola on April 10. Jan Null, an adjunct professor in the San Jose State Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, told the Journal that temperatures inside the minivan would’ve reached “at least 130 degrees.”
Jessica is charged with homicide-neglect manslaughter, child neglect, and possession of a controlled substance. Her bond was set at $480,500.
According to No Heat Stroke, the 2-year-old is the first child to die this year in a hot vehicle. Last year, a total of 51 children died of vehicular heatstroke-related causes.
[Featured image: Joy Monell/Facebook; Jessica Monell/Escambia County jail]