Toddler dies Wednesday after being
left inside hot SUV in Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI — A
15-month-old boy was killed Wednesday after being left strapped in a car seat
for hours inside an SUV, police said.
Police were called about 3:45
p.m. to a house in the 3700 block of Grassmere Drive. Officers were told the
boy's mother had driven to a store about 1 p.m. with six other children in the
vehicle and returned home.
When the boy's father arrived
about 3:45 p.m. he asked about the missing toddler, who was found unresponsive
in his car seat.
The boy was rushed to Driscoll Children's Hospital,
where he later died, police said. An investigation will determine if charges
will be filed.
Temperatures reached 96 degrees Wednesday afternoon in
Corpus Christi, the National Weather Service reported.
While inside a vehicle,
temperatures quickly can eclipse those outside.More than 30 children die each
year in the U.S. after being left inside vehicles, according to the National
Highway Transportation Safety Committee.
Just last week, a Corpus
Christi toddler was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive inside
a sedan outside a grocery store. Police found the child's grandmother inside the
store who was unaware the child had been left behind.
15 Month Old Dies When Left Unattended In Vehicle
August 22, 2012, 15:47, 3700 Grassmere Drive, Injury to a Child
A 15 month old boy died in a car seat after he
was left unattended in a vehicle Wednesday afternoon on the 3700 block
of Grassmere Drive.
A 26-year-old woman drove 7 children to a store
Wednesday afternoon and returned to her home at the 3700 block of
Grassmere Drive at 1:00pm. The 15 month old was in the company of 6
other children that range in age between 3 years old to 7 years old. Not
all the children are children of the 26-year-old woman; but, the 15
month old boy is the child of the woman.
The 30-year-old father of the 15 month old child
arrived at the home at 3:45pm and inquired about the 15 month old boy.
The woman said she forgot the child in the car. The child was still in
his car seat and not responsive.
The child was immediately rushed to the
Children’s Hospital; but the child died.
Corpus Christi Police are carefully investigating
this event to evaluate if criminal charges are appropriate. Child
Protective Services are evaluating the circumstances to determine the
appropriate placement of the other children.
Corpus Christi Police urge parents and child
caregivers to prevent hyperthermia in a few ways to avoid heat related
injuries or death. Never leave a child alone in a vehicle and
consistently leave all unattended vehicles locked. Create reminders and
habits such as leave a purse, cell phone, or item you need at your next
stop near the child. Finally, take action and call 911 immediately if
you see an unattended child in a vehicle.
Corpus Christi woman free on bail
after arrest following child’s death in hot SUV
By Steven Alford
CORPUS CHRISTI — The Southside home sat silent Thursday,
a day after a toddler left inside a hot SUV parked in the driveway died.
Toys and plastic playground equipment littered the front yard. A day earlier,
the sounds of a half-dozen children would have filled the home.
mother, Concepción Garcia Rodriguez, 26, was arrested on suspicion of injury to
a child Wednesday, hours after 15-month-old Benito died at Driscoll Children's
Rodriguez, 26, was released early Thursday from the Nueces
County Jail on $25,000 bail.
After hours of questioning at the city jail,
Rodriguez was arrested and taken to the Nueces County Jail about midnight. She
was released three hours later on $25,000 bail.
Police said she returned
home about 1 p.m. Wednesday to the 3700 block of Grassmere Drive after driving
to the store with seven children, all under 7 years old. Four of the children
were Rodriguez's, police said.
All but one made it safely inside.
About 3:45 p.m. Rodriguez's husband returned home and asked about Benito. He was
found unresponsive, still strapped into his car seat.
investigators she thought the boy was napping in the home, according to a police
statement. When she discovered him in the vehicle, she rushed the boy inside and
tried to cool him down with cold water in a bathtub. A neighbor performed CPR on
the boy before he was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
it's something that happens more than 30 times a year in the U.S., according to
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A child also died
under similar circumstances Wednesday in Shreveport, La. The 6-month-old girl
was left in a car seat all day in an SUV in the parking lot at a hospital where
her father works.
Texas leads the nation in such deaths, accounting for
nearly a fifth of last year's total.
But are such deaths a crime or a
It can happen to all parents, said Amber Rollins,
spokeswoman for child safety group KidsAndCars.org.
"This is not an
alcohol, drug or neglect problem," she said. "This is something that can happen
to loving, responsible parents."
The organization is campaigning for
mandatory warning systems in vehicles that alert a motorist if a child is left
inside. It could be an alarm or beep similar to a seat belt warning which
detects when someone is sitting in a seat unrestrained.
"The worst thing
a parent can do is think that this couldn't happen to them," Rollins said. "We
are all human."
Neighbors next door and across the street from the
Rodriguez home cautiously answered their doors Thursday. There had been a
barrage of emergency vehicles and media, and a police SUV could be seen parked
at a house two doors away.
Those who answered their doors said the
child's death was tough to discuss.
One woman, also a mother, described
Rodriguez as an attentive parent who could be seen in the yard with her children
as they played. A solemn middle-age man answered the door to the Rodriguez home
Thursday, and softly declined to comment. An opened children's board game and a
pack of diapers sat nearby in the hallway.
District Attorney Mark Skurka
said police detectives contacted his office Wednesday shortly before arresting
Rodriguez. After interviewing Rodriguez and meeting with a child abuse
prosecutor, police felt they had enough probable cause to arrest her for the
second-degree felony offense.
Prosecutors again met with police Thursday
morning and looked at whether additional charges could be brought against
Rodriguez. An autopsy was performed on the child Thursday and a cause of death
ruling is pending until a series of test results are returned. The family's
other children have been placed with relatives.
"We still have to
evaluate what the facts indicate — was this an intentional or reckless killing,
or an accident? Skurka said.
The District Attorney's office will present
its findings to a grand jury which could decide whether to add enhanced charges,