Child found dead inside vehicle in Vero Beach, mother questioned
By Keona Gardner (Contact)
Thursday, July 23, 2009

VERO BEACH — An autopsy is scheduled Friday for a 5-month old male infant found dead inside a hot SUV Thursday evening, said Vero Beach Police spokesman John Morrison.

Gannon Werking died Thursday after his mother Stephanie Werking of Sebastian left him inside a parked vehicle, according to a police department news release.

About 5 p.m. Thursday, a passerby called 911 when he saw a woman “screaming hysterically” in the parking lot of First United Bank at 17th Street and Indian River Boulevard, Morrison said.

“The child was obviously deceased at the scene,” he said, adding the cardiopulmonary resuscitation was not performed on the infant.

The mother arrived at work about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and discovered the child in the back seat of a gray Ford Edge about 5 p.m., police said.

Morrison said the mother worked inside the building, which houses other business in addition to the bank. He did not release which business employed her. Werking has not been charged as of Thursday evening.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne reports Vero Beach had a high temperature of 90 degrees Thursday, making temperatures inside the SUV from 135 degrees to 140 degrees, said meteorologist Jan Null, who researches hyperthermia deaths in children.

Thursday’s incident is the second this year in the county of a child dying after being left in a hot car.

Fellsmere resident Alejandra Alvarado, 21, was charged July 6 with manslaughter of a child for leaving her 1-year old son Aiden in a hot car as she ran errands on June 13.

Alvarado told detectives after running errands she parked her car, with her son still in the back seat, at her business, a bait shop in Fellsmere, between 12:30 and 1 p.m. She didn’t notice her son was still in the SUV until 5 p.m., according to a warrant affidavit. She drove home, checked on the boy and found he wasn’t responsive..