Aug. 29, 2004, 8:21PM

Child dies when teen leaves her in hot car
Associated Press

BROWNSVILLE -- A Brownsville teenager is in custody on a felony child
abandonment charge following the death of her 18-month-old niece from heat
exhaustion after being left in a hot car, police said.

Ana Lopez, 17, is accused of leaving Jazmine Morin in the car. Jazmine died
Saturday afternoon in the vehicle parked on a city street with its windows
rolled up, police said. The temperature inside the car was 110 degrees.

Lopez was being held on $20,000 bond on the abandonment charge, police said.

Jazmine is the first child to die in a hot car in the Rio Grande Valley
this summer. At the same time last year, statistics show three such deaths
had been recorded in the Valley.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services started a "Look
before you leave" billboard campaign. Marina Yzaguirre, agency spokeswoman,
said the campaign has seemed effective.

"Every case is a tragedy, and you hope that not even one child dies,"
Yzaguirre said in a story in Monday's editions of The Brownsville Herald.
"But we are hoping that this year's drop in numbers stays down."