The latest tragedy appears attributable “to the high temperatures inside the vehicle,” according to Madison County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Capt. Jimmy Patton.
“All signs and information so far point to this being accidental,” Patton said via email.
The incident in Danielsville, about 87 miles northeast of Atlanta, was at least the fifth hot-car death of a child in June, according to the National Safety Council
and the NoHeatStroke.org
data site run by San Jose University’s Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.
On average, 38 children younger than 15 die from heatstroke each year after being left in a car, according to the council.
In the Danielsville case, sheriff’s deputies, Madison County EMS and local police responded and rendered aid before the child was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead, according to a MCSO statement.
The child’s mother was inside her place of business for an undisclosed amount of time before she found the child, the statement said.
Temperatures in the area hovered between 86 degrees and 88 degrees during the hour when the child was found Friday afternoon, according to the CNN Weather. With an outside air temperature of 86 degrees, the car could have reached well over 100 degrees in 20 minutes or less.
MCSO said it has contacted the Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, which will receive the case for review once the investigation is complete and determine if charges should be filed.
Madison County Coroner Julie Harrison in a statement confirmed the death from “thermal exposure” but said the child was 11 months old. The investigation is ongoing and an autopsy was being performed.
Three-year-old died in Columbus, Georgia, on Sunday
In the other Georgia case, on Sunday, Kendrick Engram Jr., had arrived home in an SUV in Columbus with his grandmother and other children around 5:30 p.m., following an afternoon at church and running errands, according to a Muscogee County Coroner’s Office report on the child’s death.
The grandmother told investigators she believed all the children got out of her SUV when they got home, the coroner’s report said, and she went to her bedroom. Kendrick’s mother was at work at the time and had met with the group at a nearby Walmart earlier during her lunch break, the report said.
Nearly three hours later, at around 8:15 p.m., Kendrick’s uncle used the SUV to drive to a Wendy’s restaurant and was unaware the boy was in the back seat, according to the report. He parked the vehicle and went inside, where he later got a phone call from Kendrick’s grandmother asking if he had seen him.
The uncle found Kendrick in the car with “foam and blood coming from his mouth” and called for emergency medical assistance, which arrived two minutes after the call, the report said.
Kendrick was described as “extremely hot to the touch,” the report said, and showed no signs of life.
The preliminary cause of death is asphyxiation, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan told CNN. Temperatures Sunday in the Columbus area reached as high as 96 degrees, according to the National Weather Service
The child body was to be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for an autopsy, the coroner’s office said. Autopsy results may take up to five months to complete, Bryan said.
CNN has sought comment from the Columbus Police Department.
Toddler left in a car died, police said
In Virginia, an 18-month-old boy died after he was accidentally left in an unattended vehicle
for several hours, Chesterfield County police said Tuesday. Police did not specify his cause of death, but the high temperature in Midlothian, about 20 miles west of Richmond, was around 81 degrees that day. The child’s father later took his own life.
In Texas last week, a 5-year-old died
after he was left inside a car outside the family’s Houston home.
The majority of pediatric hot-car deaths
occur because the child is forgotten by a caregiver, according to data compiled by Jan Null, a lecturer at San Jose State University’s Department of Meteorology and Climate Science.
The tragedies often draw national attention. Murder charges are fairly rare and convictions are even less likely, according to experts.
Georgia’s highest court last month overturned the murder conviction
of a father sentenced to life without parole for the 2014 hot-car death of his 22-month-old son.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that evidence submitted by prosecutors of Justin Ross Harris’ extramarital sexual relationships — which the state portrayed as the motivation behind his decision to kill his son, Cooper — had unfair prejudicial impact on the jury.
Defense attorneys had argued Cooper’s death was a tragic accident caused by his father’s lapse in memory.