A Florida man has been arrested after police and Child Protective Services found his 8-month-old son dead in a mobile home. The temperature inside the residence was 109 degrees. Another child, a 2-year-old girl, was transported to the hospital for severe dehydration, KRON reported.
On Thursday evening, Largo police officers arrested William Francis Hendrickson, 25. He is charged with child neglect and aggravated manslaughter of a child.
At 12:30 p.m., police officers went to King’s Manor Mobile Home Park on Belcher Road. They were called to assist Pinellas County Child Protection investigators with a welfare check. They were at the residence to check on two children, an infant and a toddler.
Once inside, law enforcement came across the lifeless body of an 8-month-old boy inside of a playpen. The inside of the trailer was extremely hot and detectives measured the temperature at a scorching 109 degrees. Officer Albin Soto began CPR on the baby after calling for help. Once paramedics arrived, they took over the efforts to revive the infant. However, they were too late. The little boy was pronounced dead at the scene. According to the Tampa Tribune, the infant’s body temperature was 105.6 degrees.
Just one day before the baby’s death, investigators with child services warned Henderickson not to leave his children in the bedroom. There was no air conditioning in that room and it was simply too hot.
A 2-year-old girl was transported to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersberg. She was suffering from severe dehydration.
At 7:21 p.m., William Francis Hendrickson was booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bond is $150,000 and both charges are felonies. The little girl is currently being cared for by relatives.
As for the children’s mother, she was sitting in jail at the time, facing battery charges. Apparently, the charges were from a fight she had with Hendrickson’s mother. When asked why he kept his children in the hot bedroom after being warned against it, he claimed he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Apparently, the couple and their children lived with Hendrickson’s parents in the mobile home. He confined his children to the bedroom in order to avoid his parents.
A neighbor called the Hendrickson’s mobile home a “house of horrors.” Even though she became friends with Carrie Hendrickson, the children’s grandmother, she refused to sit on the dirty furniture. It was always hot and dark inside, with the shades pulled down tight. The neighbor also said there were cockroaches and bugs everywhere. It was apparently the grandfather’s decision to keep the air conditioner off to keep the power bill down. As for the bedroom the children were kept in, that room had no A/C at all.
“It was horrific. From day one, I just got a creepy feeling about it.”
The police department in Largo, Florida, is warning citizens of how dangerous the heat is, especially in poorly ventilated or confined spaces. Children, the elderly, and people with special medical concerns are particularly vulnerable.
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