Terrified Florida mother found her 10-month-old daughter dead after babysitter left her in hot car that reached 133F for ‘at least five hours’
Rhonda Jewell, 46, has been charged with aggravated murder of a child
A terrified mother found her 10-month-old daughter in Florida after her babysitter left her in a hot car that reached 133 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five hours.
The tragic incident happened around 8 a.m. Wednesday when Rhonda Jewell, 46, picked up the child from the child’s mother’s home in North McClenny.
Jewell, who had babysat the girl several times since June, then moved to another residence in the city where she was babysitting other children.
Arriving at the second house, Jewell left the child in the SUV as the temperature outside boiled to 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jewell told investigators that he assumed the girl was asleep, so he entered the home and began contacting the three children he was babysitting, later aiming to pick up the child but ‘completely’ forgetting to do so.
Rhonda Jewell, 46, was charged with aggravated manslaughter after Jewell left the child in a hot car for hours in North McClenny, Florida.
It wasn’t until the child’s mother came to pick up her daughter around 1pm that Jewel realized the child had been forgotten.
Deputies discovered the child slumped in the seat of a golf cart inside the garage and began life support.
According to responding deputies and rescue workers, the child’s skin was ‘too hot to touch’.
The child was taken to Fraser Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Jewell was arrested and booked into the Baker County Detention Center.
He made his first court appearance Thursday morning, where his bond was set at $25,000.
Jewell is charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child after allegedly leaving the infant unattended in a vehicle that was not running ‘while the outside temperature was 98 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature inside the vehicle reached over 133 degrees for at least 5 hours’.
Police ask that people respect the privacy of the child’s family.
The Baker County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook: ‘Each of us is given the gift of life every morning we wake up and every evening when we end our day, we are blessed if our family is safe and sound.
‘In the blink of an eye, our world can turn upside down. Please keep this in mind as you try to make sense of the tragedy that occurred in our small town yesterday.’
This year, 14 children have died from vehicular heatstroke, including five children in Florida, according to noheatstroke.org.
The McCleney girl is the sixth and youngest child in the state this year to die from extreme temperatures inside a vehicle, NohetStroke.org reports.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, incidents of vehicular heatstroke can begin as early as March each year, and 53 percent of hot car deaths are the result of a child left in a car.
At the end of the workweek, fatalities are highest on Thursdays and Fridays, and 46 percent of the time a child forgets their caregiver planned to drop them off at daycare or preschool, NHTSA reports.