Florida Toddler Found Dead After She’s Left in Hot Car for 14 Hours

A Florida couple has been charged with child neglect after their toddler was left in a locked car for about 14 hours.

The 2-year-old girl was pronounced dead at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday after a 911 call came in 15 minutes earlier.

Holmes County Sheriff John Tate said the girl’s body temperature was 107 degrees when she was pronounced dead — something that immediately told investigators “something wasn’t adding up.”

Investigators eventually learned that the mother, 23-year-old Kathreen Adams, had gotten off work at about midnight and picked up her two children — the toddler and a 4-year-old — from the babysitter. When she arrived home, Tate said, Adams “decided to leave the child in the car and went inside and ultimately fell asleep.”

Adams and the child’s father, 32-year-old Christopher McLean, didn’t remember the little girl until after 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

“Once they realized that the child was still in the car, they went out and found [her] unresponsive,” Tate said.

Dispatch took a 911 call at 3:43 p.m., Tate said, and the woman on the line was “disturbed” and “screaming,” leaving the dispatcher unable to get much information. The dispatcher sent a deputy for a welfare check.

“The first deputy arrived on the scene within two minutes,” Tate said. “Once he arrived on scene, he was met outside with an individual carrying a baby that was unresponsive. When I say, ‘a baby’, it was a 2-year-old. Immediately the deputy began CPR – started trying to do life-saving measures on the child.”

Emergency medical personnel arrived and took over CPR, but they were unable to resuscitate the little girl.

Tate said investigators are still working the case trying to sort through “grey areas about what happened  between the time they found the child and when they called 911.”

Adams initially told investigators she found the girl dead inside the home and didn’t know what happened, but the body temperature gave away the lie.

“The mom did confess to leaving the child in the car for about 14 hours,” Tate said. “The dad – we tried to interview him. He was very uncooperative. He (invoked) his rights and did not wish to give us a statement and talk to us at that time.”

Deputies executed search warrants on the property and found multiple “packages with methamphetamine” as well as other drugs and drug paraphernalia.

In addition to neglect charges, Adams and McLean face several drug charges. Other charges are likely when an autopsy is complete.

“There will be more charges coming,” Tate said. “They will be faced with some type of manslaughter or murder charge.”

“I honestly believe methamphetamine drugs is the culprit behind this death,” the sheriff said. “That’s what happens when you use drugs. You lose sense of what’s going on in reality.”

The 4-year-old child is now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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[Featured image: Christopher McLean and Kathreen Adams/Holmes County Sheriff’s Office]