A 20-year-old father who was arrested on an outstanding warrant after he went to a Georgia police station is being blamed for his infant daughter’s death as officers say he did not inform them he had left the minor in his car.
According to PEOPLE, the 8-month-old was found unresponsive in her father’s car by the minor’s grandmother on Tuesday. The victim was identified as Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo.
Officials said the suspect, Davied Japez McCorry Whatley, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon after he came to the Snellville Police Department to retrieve previously confiscated guns from a different investigation. As part of department policy, a warrant check was conducted on Whatley. And the results determined the 20-year-old had an active probation violation warrant, a statement said.
Police claimed that Whatley failed to tell them he had left his daughter in his car after he was subsequently arrested. The car in question was parked near the police station. The interactions Whatley had with officers on the day of his arrest were captured on police body camera.
Nova was pronounced dead at a hospital after her grandmother took her there. Officials said they believe the infant was left in the car for seven hours, PEOPLE reported. And weather data revealed temperatures on Tuesday exceeded 80 degrees.
Authorities released Whatley on Tuesday after he posted bond for violating his probation. He was, however, re-arrested the next day for his infant daughter’s death. He faces a second-degree murder charge for that, and he remains in custody without bond.
In an interview with 11Alive, Nova’s mother said her deceased daughter “had the biggest personality.”
“She laughed and smiled since she was a month old. She talked to you in her baby language and answered you with noises when you said her name,” she recalled. “I loved her more than I could ever imagine and my heart is breaking that she is gone so soon.”