Police in Suffolk County have opened investigations into a case where a 14-month-old baby died after her grandmother left her in a hot jeep for eight hours. No charges have been filed against the grandmother by the family.
The little girl whose name was given as Chyasia died after her 54-year-old grandmother left her in the car seat in the back and headed to work. The granny was supposed to have taken her to a daycare center in Smithtown Monday morning but forgot to carry out this role, according to Suffolk County Police Department.
First responders who say they were at the scene and rescued the little girl said her body temperature was at 106 degrees after they took her out of the vehicle. By the time the grandmother returned to the jeep for her granddaughter, that was when it hit her she had committed a grave mistake.
The toddler died shortly after she was taken to the Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center. Hospital authorities are yet to ascertain the cause of death. Chyasia celebrated her one-year birthday in May with a sesame street-themed party, according to the New York Post.
During a tearful candlelight vigil attended by friends and family, Jennifer Watkins, mother of the 14-month-old baby, expressed her grief and love for her daughter, clutching an Elmo doll close to her chest. She tearfully recounted their last moment together, cherishing the memory of giving her daughter a kiss and expressing her love.
Adding to the pain, the daycare center failed to inform the family when Chyasia hadn’t been dropped off that day. Struggling with the immense loss, the mother’s godfather has stepped in to assist with the funeral expenses by setting up a gofundme account to raise money to help. The community stands in support, grieving with the devastated mother as she copes with this unimaginable tragedy.
Watkins joins a sad group of parents whose children have been found dead in hot cars. Over 900 children have died in hot cars in the U.S. since 1990. Every year, 38 kids die on average, and that is one every nine days, according to KidsAndCars.org.