A couple in the United States have been charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of their 18-month-old daughter who died after being left in a hot car overnight following a Fourth of July party. According to CNN, the child was left alone in the car from around 3am until around 11am, when the heat index was 105 degrees.
Citing a statement from Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the outlet reported that parents Joel and Jazmine Rondon attended a Fourth of July party with their three children, all under the age of 9, and stayed out until nearly 3 the next morning. After returning, Ms Jazmine took the older children into the home and told her husband to bring their daughter inside. Mr Joel said that one of the car doors was open at the time. He brought trays of food inside the house, however, when he went back outside, he saw that all four doors of their car were closed and assumed his wife had already brought the toddler inside herself.
“He went inside and laid down in bed with his wife. Neither husband nor wife asked each other if they had brought the victim inside. They went to sleep,” according to the sheriff’s office news release.
The next morning, at around 11am, as Mr Joel was getting ready for work, he asked one of the children to go “check on the baby” in the bedroom, but the child told the 33-year-old that the baby wasn’t there. At that point, the father began looking for the 18-month-old and then went outside and looked in the car, which was parked in the driveway “in the full sun”. He found the child “still strapped in her car seat and unresponsive”.
According to CNN, the couple then rushed the baby to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The heat index that day was 105 degrees, cops said. They added that the child’s internal body temperature was over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. An autopsy also determined that the child’s manner of death is homicide and her cause of death was hyperthermia “due to being left in a car”.
Following the incident, the couple underwent drug screening. While Mr Joel tested positive for meth, marijuana and alcohol, Ms Jazmine tested positive for Marijuana and alcohol.
The couple has now been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. They were taken into custody on Thursday and booked into the Polk County Jail. The couple’s other children, on the other hand, have been placed with relatives.