Mother charged in child's death
Police claim she left 2-year-old daughter unattended in car

HEATHER CIVIL
Northwest Florida Daily News

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS - A mother has been charged with felony aggravated manslaughter of a child in connection with the death of her 23-month-old daughter last month.

Christina Ann Martin, 28, was arrested Tuesday, according to the Walton County Sheriff's Office. Martin left her child, Carolyn, unattended in a pickup truck Aug. 25 for almost an hour during the heat of the day, according to the sheriff's office.

The child died in the truck from "extreme dehydration," said sheriff's office investigator Capt. Jason Adkinson. "The baby died from the heat," he said.

Martin told sheriff's deputies that she left Carolyn in the truck that day while she went inside her home, turned on some music and fell asleep for almost 50 minutes, according to an arrest warrant issued for Martin.

It is unclear why Martin left her daughter alone in the truck, Adkinson said.

When she awoke and found Carolyn still in the truck, Martin took her inside and put her in the bathtub, according to the warrant.

She then went to ask a neighbor to use the telephone, the warrant stated. The neighbor would not let her use the phone.

Martin then left her dead child in the bathtub while she drove to get her mother, Carolyn's grandmother, according to the warrant. Martin later returned home and called 911.

She is being held Thursday in the Walton County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Adkinson called the event a tragedy and said that it is never OK to leave a child in a vehicle, even for a short time.

"You never leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle, whether it's running or not," he said. "It's too hot, too dangerous and too many things can go wrong."