Child dies after being left in vehicle

Posted: Sep 7, 2010 12:11 PM PDT

Updated: Sep 7, 2010 12:14 PM PDT

On Friday, September 3, 2010, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital at approximately 12:15AM in reference to an ill 6-month-old child. Upon arrival, officers learned that the child's mother, 25-year-old Monique Andre, initially took the child to Capital Regional Medical Center on Thursday, September 2, at approximately 7:00PM.

According to Andre, she had gone to a friend's apartment around 2:00PM on Friday afternoon. Andre explained to officers that she left the 6-month-old child unattended in her vehicle while visiting the friend. Andre returned to her vehicle and reportedly drove to Comcast to return a computer component. While returning the component, Andre explained that the child became ill.

Andre completed her transaction at Comcast and returned to her home. Upon arriving at home, the child's father noticed the illness and drove Andre and the child to Capital Medical Regional Center.

Investigator Phil Hinds and Investigator Russ Huston from the Tallahassee Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division conducted a follow-up investigation regarding the events leading to the child's illness. A follow-up interview with Andre revealed that she left the child unattended inside the vehicle for approximately 2 hours while visiting at the apartment. Today, at approximately 10:30AM, the child succumbed to injuries believed to be related to prolonged heat exposure. Investigators conferred with the Leon County State Attorney's Office and obtained a warrant for the arrest of Andre. Andre was arrested today at 2:30PM.



 

PROBABLE CAUSE                                                    

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TO:  FIRST APPEARANCE MAGISTRATE

DEFENDANT:  Monique Adina Andre       DATE ARRESTED: 9/7/10

CASE NUMBER: 10-27547

CHARGES:  Aggravated Manslaughter

SUMMARY OF OFFENSES AND PROBABLE CAUSE AFFIDAVIT:

 

On 09/02/10, the Tallahassee Police Department was made aware that a 6-month-old child, Zariah Williams (2/18/10), was being transported to the P.I.C.U at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital due to a severe brain injury.  Officers and investigators responded to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where doctors informed them that Zariah’s injury would be consistent with prolonged heat exposure or an unknown type of infection.  The injury was potentially life threatening.

 

I contacted Zariah’s mother Monique Andre at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH).   Ms. Andre told me that she went to Rebecca Wayne’s house on the afternoon of 09/02/10 and left her child inside of her vehicle for five minutes. She also said that the vehicle’s engine was running and the air conditioner was on.   Ms. Andre said that she left Ms. Wayne’s house and went to the Comcast Cable Company. On the way to Comcast, Zariah was sweating and vomiting.  Ms. Andre said that she returned a modem to Comcast, and then she went home to her apartment located at 1515 Paul Russell Road in Tallahassee.  Once at home, the child’s father, Danny Williams, noticed that something was wrong with Zariah.  Mr. Williams transported Zariah and Ms. Andre to the Capital Regional Medical Center.  Zariah was then transported to TMH by EMS. 

 

I spoke to Danny Williams, Zariah’s father, at TMH about this case.  Mr. Williams stated that he was completely unaware of the circumstances that led to his daughter becoming ill.  Mr. Williams stated that he woke up about 6:00 PM in his apartment, when Ms. Andre returned with Zariah, who was sitting in her infant car seat/carrier.  Mr. Williams stated that he picked up Zariah and she was limp, and had dark green mucus coming from her mouth.  Mr. Williams stated that he asked Ms. Andre what was wrong with Zariah, and she said, “She will be fine”.  Mr. Williams stated that he was going to drive Ms. Andre and Zariah to his mother’s house to get help with the baby, but Ms. Andre wanted to go to the hospital, so he took them there instead.  Mr. Williams seemed genuinely unaware of what had happened to his baby.     

 

I also spoke to Rebecca Wayne at TMH, and she confirmed that Monique had been at her residence on 9/2/10.  Ms. Wayne stated that Ms. Andre came to her house to use her computer, but her computer was not working properly.  Ms. Wayne stated that Ms. Andre was at her house for about fifteen minutes filling out paperwork for school, but then she left.  I explained to Ms. Wayne that Zariah was very sick, and that there would eventually need to be an explanation for her injuries.  I urged Ms. Wayne to contact me if she had any further information that could assist me in this case. 

 

During the early morning hours of 09/03/10, Ms. Wayne contacted the Tallahassee Police Department and told responding officers that she wanted to change her statement that she had originally given me.  She said “ I have to be the voice for Zariah

 now”.  Ms. Wayne stated that Ms. Andre was at her residence from about 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM on 09/02/10.  She said that Ms. Andre was in her residence without her child, updating or using Facebook with her cell phone, a social network site, and taking photos of herself with her cell phone.  Ms. Wayne stated that she and Ms. Andre were just hanging out in her apartment, until Ms. Wayne had to get ready to go to work.  Ms. Wayne and Ms. Andre left her apartment at the same time.  Ms. Wayne stated that she walked by the passenger’s side of Ms. Andre’s vehicle, and the engine was off. Ms. Wayne stated that she got in her vehicle and went to work.  Ms. Wayne stated that she was not aware of anything being wrong with Zariah, until she got a call from Ms. Andre, telling her that Zariah was in the hospital.  Ms. Wayne stated that she and another friend (Liz Wood) went to the hospital to be with Ms. Andre.  The three women went outside the hospital to smoke a cigarette, and Ms. Andre told them that Zariah had been in her vehicle, when she was at Ms. Wayne’s house earlier in the day, but she was fine.  Ms. Wayne stated that she had no idea that Zariah had been outside in Ms. Andre’s vehicle the whole time Ms. Andre had been at her house.  Officer Smith questioned Ms. Wayne and she told him that she did not know where Ms. Andre was between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM on 9/2/10.  Ms. Wayne stated that she told Ms. Andre that she lied to the officer, and Ms. Andre smiled.  Ms. Wayne stated that she waited until 3:50 AM on 9/3/10 to give Ms. Andre a ride home from TMH.  When she got in the car, Ms. Wayne asked Ms. Andre why she left Zariah in the car when she was at her house.  Ms. Andre told her that she was initially going to be there for a few minutes to fill out a W-2 form, but then she “just forgot the baby was in the truck.”   She also said “she knew it was bad, but she didn’t do it on purpose.”  Ms. Andre told her that she got in her vehicle and realized that Zariah was inside it, so she blasted the air conditioning.  She drove to Comcast, but Zariah was short of breath and vomiting, so she drove home to get her insurance card, and then went to the hospital.  Ms. Wayne told Ms. Andre that she was feeling guilty about lying to the police.  Ms. Andre told Ms. Wayne that she would probably go to jail for about five years, and her boyfriend would not be able to see the baby, if Ms. Wayne went to the police.

 

On 09/03/10, I conducted a post Miranda interview with Monique Andre.  I told Ms. Andre that Zariah’s injuries had to be explained, and that her injuries did not make sense, if she had been in an air-conditioned vehicle all day.  Ms. Andre admitted that she left Zariah inside her vehicle, in the parking lot of Ms. Wayne’s apartment complex for approximately two hours, while she was inside Ms. Wayne’s apartment.  Ms. Andre stated that when she got in her vehicle, it was hot inside, so she rolled the windows down and “blasted the A/C”.  Ms. Andre said that she forgot that Zariah was in the car.  Ms. Andre stated that she checked on Zariah, and Zariah grabbed her hand.  Ms. Andre thought that Zariah was fine, so she drove to Comcast Cable Company.  Zariah began vomiting, sweating profusely, and breathing erratically, so she took her home, then to the hospital.

 

  

A search warrant was obtained for Ms. Andre’s vehicle.  Investigators and the TPD Forensic Unit took the vehicle to the parking lot of Ms. Wayne’s apartment complex and

parked within a few parking spots of where it had been parked with Zariah inside, the day prior.  It was left in the spot between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM, just as it had been the

day prior.  The temperature peaked inside the vehicle at one hundred and thirty four degrees. 

 

Mike Zenoz in the TPD Garage checked Ms. Andre’s vehicle, and the air conditioning was found to be functioning properly.

 

Zariah remained at TMH until 9/7/10, when a final test was completed to determine if there was any brain activity.  There was found to be no brain activity, and Zariah was removed from life support.  She was pronounced deceased by Dr. Ross on 9/7/10.