Fox8 reports that an 8-month-old boy named Jayce Markell Benjamin was found dead on Wednesday, after he was left in a hot car and forgotten by his family. It’s a tragedy that took place in a Walmart parking lot in Macedonia, Ohio. According to the Associated Press the Macedonia Police Department was called to the local Walmart at about 5:30 p.m. Jayce was pronounced dead fifteen minutes later.
Police are currently investigating the case, but signs point to a painfully familiar scenario that caused poor little Jayce’s death.
— 13WHAM (@13WHAM) September 24, 2015
USA Today reports that a parent or guardian drove an SUV to daycare, where four children were meant to be dropped off. WKYC identified the vehicle as a Buick Rendezvous. Three of the children emerged and headed into the daycare center; there was allegedly no effort to remove Jayce from the Buick. He was strapped into a car seat in the vehicle’s third row.
At about 11 a.m., hours after the daycare trip, the boy’s grandmother used the vehicle to drive to her job at the local Walmart. The 8-month-old wasn’t missed until the late afternoon, when his mother, Katrell Johnson, called the grandmother to inform her she couldn’t find the baby. The grandmother went out to the Walmart parking lot to check the SUV, and that’s when she and several others learned of the infant’s fate. Fox8 reported the car temperature was 120 degrees 50 minutes after Jayce was removed. The deceased infant’s body temperature was 100.3 degrees.
A portion of the Macedonia Walmart’s parking lot was closed off while police performed a search of the Buick. The vehicle was towed at around 8 p.m. and the parking lot reopened soon after. Since the investigation is in its early stages, police stated it’s too early to know whether charges will be filed. An autopsy was performed on Thursday, but results weren’t released as additional testing is necessary.
— 10TV.com (@10TV) September 24, 2015
It’s a familiar scenario, one that has led to multiple hot car seat deaths this year alone.
Jayce’s mother appeared to be coping with the tragedy despite having received a great deal of criticism from her community over her young son’s death. She told the press that she “loved her son.”
Commenting on this and similar tragedies, Macedonia Police Ptl. Christian Costello suggested parents begin leaving indispensable items such as wallets or purses next to babies to ensure children are not forgotten.
“Unfortunately, parents have to understand how quickly and dangerously a car can heat up with a kid left in it.”
It is strongly recommended that parents always check their vehicles, even if they believe an infant or young child is not present. When caution becomes a habit, it can become a savior of young lives.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]