A Columbus, Ohio baby died in a hot car earlier this month. And now the parents are under arrest in Ardmore, Oklahoma for the crime of murder.
You may think that you already know this story. But you don’t.
Angela Randolph, 26, and Christopher Randolph, 28, didn’t forget their 23-day-year old baby daughter Hannah in a hot car. They were with her all along as they were driving across the hot Oklahoma plains on Monday, August 5.
The Ohio couple had driven for 16 hours and were only 30 miles away from their destination in Ringling, Oklahoma. They were apparently unemployed and planned to live with relatives.
But their car had no air conditioning. It was packed with their possessions. And they were able to open only one window.
The Columbus-Dispatch said that the car was a late 1990s two-door Pontiac Grand Am.
The baby, as required by law, was reportedly secured in her car seat.
According to the Randolphs’ side of the story, when they stopped at a gas station for water, they checked on Hannah and realized that she was in trouble.
They called for help but it was already too late.
The baby died at the hospital.
And it looks like she died of heat exhaustion, even with an open window and a running car engine.
But it might not be a story about babies and hot cars. It appears to be a story about babies and poverty.
The Dispatch said that the Randolphs had already lost custody in 2010 of two older daughters because of their primitive living conditions in their Ohio home — described as a filthy place with no running water or electrical services.
By this summer, although they claimed to be living with relatives, Ohio caseworkers who investigated them in July reported that the family was actually living in the car.
The 16-hour drive from Ohio to Oklahoma may have been an attempt to flee in case child services decided to remove their other two children. And it may beg the question of why Ohio didn’t act sooner.
Their 15-month-old son has now been returned to a relative. The Randolphs were first held in Carter County Jail on child neglect charges on a bond of $15,000 apiece.
But on Friday the Ardmore police announced that the Randolphs were being charged with second degree murder.
This baby didn’t have to die in a hot car if Angela and Christopher Randolph didn’t choose to flee Ohio in the heat of August. Now a jury may have to decide if their bad choices were really murder.