Hot Car Death Leads To Second-Degree Murder Charge For Father Who Forgot About His Eight-Month-Old Daughter

The seventh hot car death of 2016 has led to a second-degree murder for a father who says he accidentally forgot his 8-month-old daughter was in his car when he went into work on Thursday.

Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Blunt is being held in custody at Grenada County Jail on a $250,000 bond, says Grenada Deputy Chief George Douglas. Blunt is being charged with second-degree murder after the death of his 8-month-old daughter on Thursday, when the infant was left in his hot car while the young father was at work. It is unclear how long the infant, identified as Shania Rihanna Caradine, was in the car, but according to the Clarion-Ledger, Grenada Deputy Coroner Jo Morman says that a passerby noticed the child in the car and called 911 around 3:50 p.m. local time.

Following the call to 911, the infant was removed from the hot car, and brought into the restaurant where her father worked. She was then rushed outside once paramedics arrived, and was described as “hyperthermic” — a condition typical in hot car deaths, characterized by elevated body temperatures. The infant was then transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center via ambulance, where CPR was administered for “a couple of hours” before her death was officially pronounced.

This is the seventh hot car death of 2016, and the second reported in the state of Mississippi.

On May 12, investigators from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office were called to Little Footprints Learning Center, a daycare in Madison County, Mississippi, after someone reported the death of a little girl in a hot car outside of the daycare. The 2-year-old girl, identified as Caroline Bryant by Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland, was still in her car seat when officials arrived, said Sheriff Randy Tucker, according to WAPT.

“The mother went to work this morning. It was a normal routine day. She came to pick her child up after work, just like she does every day. She went in to get the child and the child was not here. They told her, ‘You didn’t drop her off this morning.’ The mother immediately became distraught (and) ran out to her car and realized that the 2-year-old was still in the car.”

Investigators, who spoke to both the child’s mother and father, said that the mother arrived for work that morning at 8:15 a.m. local time, just a short walk from the daycare the toddler attended. The child was discovered in the hot car, an SUV with tinted windows, more than seven hours later. Tucker said the mother’s routine involved dropping Caroline off at Little Footprints Learning Center every morning, before continuing on to work, a step in her routine she tragically missed that morning.

Though Tucker has said he doesn’t believe any criminal charges will be filed in the hot car death of 2-year-old Caroline Bryant, calling the toddler’s death a “tragic accident,” District Attorney Michael Guest says that it is being determined whether the mother will be charged with negligence.

“I think we’ll all agree that there was negligence, that what happened in this case was a negligent act in the fact that the mother in this case failed to take the child to day care, and based up on that it appears that the child died as a result of heat exhaustion or something that would have been suffered in this car.”

Hot car deaths are a terrible epidemic across the nation with exhausted parents or parents out of their routine forgetting their children inside their cars in the summer months. To help quell the number of hot car deaths each year, car seat manufacturer Evenflo has created a car seat with an alarm equipped to alert parents that their child is still strapped into its car seat in the event they forget.

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