Boy, 4, dies after being left in SUV west of West Palm Beach
By Maria Herrera
4:28 PM EDT, July 19, 2008

A 4-year-old boy died this morning after being left in an SUV while his mother was inside a nail salon west of West Palm Beach, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

The mother, 29, may not have known her son was in the car, investigators said. She dropped off children at a relative's house before going to get her nails done.

"Perhaps the child didn't get out or snuck back into the car," said Sgt. Pete Palenzuela of the Sheriff's Office.

After discovering the child at 11:45 a.m., about two hours after leaving the SUV, the mother or an aunt called 911 in hysterics. One of the women attempted CPR and paramedics did as well upon their arrival. The boy was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at Palms West Hospital, Palenzuela said.

The mother had to be sedated at the hospital and was unable to be interviewed by detectives.

Mother, family reels from 4-year-old's death

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Four-year-old Gregory Cesar woke up to his aunt's voice Saturday morning. It was her, too, who four hours later would carry the dying boy out of a Ford Expedition, splash water on his face and try to perform CPR.

On that morning, Gregory showered and then dressed with the clothes his mother had picked for him. It was too early for breakfast, so he ate a chocolate chip cookie, and drank some juice and water. It was the big day. The day when Gregory's mother, Mirlande Jean Baptiste, 29, was supposed to have her church wedding at the Elected Church of God in Lake Worth.

Just a day earlier, Gregory's jokingly told his grandmother how he was going to marry the flower girl, who was supposed to walk next to him as he carried the rings. Superman was his hero and his red and blue bicycle his favorite toy.

"He was a hyper child," said Jean Baptiste of her son today at her house on Oak Royal Drive in suburban Lake Worth. She was dressed in black, her eyes were swollen and a white hospital bracelet was still on her wrist.

Her sister, Juliana Jean Baptiste, 24, told the events as she remembered them:

She and her sister dropped off Gregory; his sister, Lisa Jean, 10; his cousin, Tracie Cineus, 8; and another girl with a friend before they went to the nail salon.

The three girls were going to have their hair done for the wedding.

The children jumped off the Ford Expedition into their friend's car. Juliana and her sister chatted for a couple of minutes from the driver and passenger seat with the friend. The back door remained open, until the friend closed it, and they drove to U.S. Nails on 2650 S. Military Trail.

When their nails were done, Juliana walked to the car to get some cash while her sister paid. She was opening her wallet when she felt the need to look back. She caught a glimpse of yellow fabric, so she looked closely. That's when she ran to the back door, opened it and carried Gregory out of the car.

"Gregory, are you crazy?" she asked him.

Gregory wasn't moving but didn't look hurt, so Juliana thought he was sleeping.

Jean Baptiste came out of the nail salon and grabbed Gregory from Juliana. She called 911 and Juliana ran to a nearby liquor store to buy water. They splashed water on his face and tried to perform CPR.

The ambulance came next. Gregory was gone. He was pronounced dead at around 1 p.m.