A Mississippi father has been charged with second-degree murder after leaving his 8-month-old daughter in an overheated car, according to NBC News.
Joshua Lewis Blunt is accused of having left his daughter, Shania Caradine, in his car in the parking lot while he worked at 333 Restaurant in Grenada on Thursday. Police officers told NewsWest9 that the baby was discovered by Blunt and a co-worker, and was taken to a nearby hospital.
However, WCBI reports that the baby died after several attempts by doctors to revive her proved unsuccessful. An autopsy report confirmed that the 8-month-old died from asphyxiation.
The Mississippi father’s bond has been set at $250,000, and he could face a long prison term if convicted.
News of the 8-month-old’s death has rocked the Grenada community, with many residents holding a prayer vigil for the child at the spot where she was found dead in the car. While some people suggested that the father was at fault for having left such a young child unattended, others sympathized with Blunt, saying something like that can happen with anyone.
Rhonda Hubbard, a friend of the family, told reporters that she was devastated by Shania’s loss, but refused to blame the father entirely for the tragic incident.
“My initial reaction is very shocked, very devastating, but it can happen,” she said. “She was the most beautiful baby you will ever see — curly hair, rosy cheeks — just beautiful.”
Remarkably, this is the second time in two weeks that a child has died in a hot car in Mississippi. Last week, a mother accidentally forgot her 2-year-old in her car in Madison County, leading to the toddler’s death. While she was not charged in that case, the charging of Blunt has raised questions of whether his arrest was racially motivated.
Speaking to reporters, Major George Douglas with the Grenada Police Department refused such allegations, saying that arresting Blunt was a decision driven by facts, and not based on the Mississippi father’s race.
“Most certainly not. This police department doesn’t investigate cases based on race or gender or religious,” Douglas said. “We just investigate the facts, that I am not at liberty to discuss at the moment, that lead us to this point.”
“It’s never good to leave a child unattended in a car. Children don’t need to be left unattended anytime.”
The Grenada Police Department cautioned parents not to leave their children in cars during the summer months.
“The Grenada Police victim advocate is working to assist the mother, Candice Caradine, as well as the father, Joshua Blunt. The Grenada Police Department is saddened because of this death. The Grenada Police would like to caution parents to check their vehicles to insure that children are not left inside unattended during the hot summer months.”
Do you think the Mississippi father deserves to go to jail for his act of negligence that led to his daughter’s death?
[Image via Grenada Police Department]