A 14-month-old toddler from Long Island has died after she was left in a car for eight hours while her grandmother went to work, Suffolk County police said Tuesday.
The little girl, named Chyasia Evans, was supposed to be dropped off at daycare on Monday morning, but her grandmother forgot and went straight to work. She got out of the car, a red Jeep Cherokee, and left the child in a car seat in the back, NBC New York reported.
About eight hours later, at 4:20 p.m., the child was supposed to be picked up from daycare, so the grandmother left work and found the child still inside her car.
At that point, she was already not breathing, according to the audio recording of the 911 call.
The toddler was rushed to Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, a small town on Long Island, where she was pronounced dead. No criminal charges have been filed yet but the child’s death remains under investigation by the Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad.
The highest recorded temperature on Monday in Smithtown was 28 C (83 F), but temperatures inside a car can reach much higher than that without air-conditioning or shade. By the time the girl received medical help, her internal temperature had soared to 41 degrees (106 F), the family said.
On late Tuesday, after news of the girl’s death was released, stuffed toys and lit candles were seen lining the parking spot in Smithtown where the girl died.
Her mother, Jessica Watkins, attended the vigil clutching an Elmo toy in her arms.
“I know you’re going to be my guardian angel and I love you until we meet again,” Watkins said. “I’m so defeated. I don’t know how to do this.”
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She told NBC New York that her last words to her baby girl were “I love you, Princess,” when she dropped her daughter off with the grandmother.
The child’s aunt said that the daycare didn’t notify anyone in the family that the child hadn’t been dropped off that day. She said that knowledge could have provided critical life-saving hours for the girl.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 40 children die in overheated cars every year in the U.S. after being left or trapped inside. The majority of these cases happen when a parent or caregiver forgets that the child is in the car, the Associated Press reported.
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