A Florida mother is accused of leaving her 14-month-old son in a hot car for at least five hours while she smoked marijuana and got cocaine.
According to Florida Today, Emily Hartman, 26, is accused of leaving Richard Wighard alone in her car several on several instances between April 3 and April 4. With her son in the car, she reportedly drank with a friend at a bar and spent the evening of April 3 meeting up with several people. The following morning, she allegedly picked up a small bag of cocaine to sell and entered a North Melbourne home—where she smoked marijuana while she left Wighard unattended in her car for up to six hours.
After leaving the North Melbourne residence, Hartman reportedly took her unresponsive son to Melbourne Fire Station 71 at around 1 p.m. on April 4. There, emergency crews determined he was suffering from a heat-related illness and rushed him to the hospital.
WESH reported that Wighard was airlifted to an Orlando hospital, where he died two days later.
Citing police documents, Florida Today reported that Hartman admitted that the car engine was off when she left her son alone strapped in his car seat. WESH noted that the car was parked in the sun for those six hours Wighard was in the vehicle.
WKMG reported that Hartman initially told police that she and her son had gone to a grocery store and, while driving off, she heard a gurgling noise and witnessed him having a seizure. It wasn’t until police pressed her on the issue that she allegedly admitted to leaving her son attended in the vehicle.
Hartman was arrested earlier this week and charged with aggravated manslaughter by neglect, possession with intent to sell cocaine, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. On Wednesday, a judge ordered her to remain jailed without bond.
According to the data from the website No Heat Stroke, Wighart was the first of two children to die this year in a hot car. Last year, a total of 51 children died from vehicular heatstroke-related causes.
[Featured image: Emily Hartman/Brevard County Sheriff’s Office]