Heat kills child left in vehicle 3 hours
Temperature inside seen at 127 degrees
By Kenneth Heard

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

LITTLE ROCK — An autopsy showed that a 16-month-old Crittenden County girl left in her mother’s car for more than three hours Monday died from the sweltering heat, a Crittenden County sheriff’s office investigator said Tuesday.

The death is the first heatrelated one in the state this year, authorities with the state Health Department said.

Police did not identify the baby but said her mother found her unresponsive after she was left in her car for 3 1 /2 hours outside her Proctor home Monday afternoon, said Jennifer Goodbar, an investigator with the Crittenden County sheriff’s office.

Goodbar said the baby’s mother told authorities that she thought her boyfriend took the child out of the car when they arrived at her home in Proctor, about 10 miles west of West Memphis. The boyfriend mistakenly thought the girl’s mother had gotten her, Goodbar said.

The child was left in the gray cloth seat in the back of her mother’s Buick about 9:30 a.m. Monday. She was discovered at 1 p.m., Goodbar said. The child was taken to Crittenden Memorial Hospital in West Memphis, where she died an hour later, Goodbar said.

A thermometer placed inside the car shortly after the girl’s discovery indicated that the temperature was 127 degrees, she said.

The mother was not charged in the baby’s death.

In nearby West Memphis, the high Monday was 91. On Monday, Russellville reported a heat index of 107 degrees, the highest in the state, according to the National Weather Service. Pine Bluff recorded a heat index of 106, North Little Rock registered 105 and Jonesboro had an index of 104.

The heat index determines how hot it feels by combining actual temperatures with humidity readings.

The parents of the 14-month-old girl who died after being left in a vehicle.

For more than three hours were charged in her death Friday, a law enforcement official said.

The child's parents, Cyneeka Morgan, 22, and Elliott Sloan, 28, are charged with negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.

“They both gave statements that the mother thought the father got the baby out of the car, and the father thought the mother got her out,” Crittenden County Chief Criminal Investigator Thomas Martin said.

Autopsy results for the baby, named Justice Sloan, were not available, he said.

The temperature inside the car was 127 degrees when taken by investigators.

Martin said three other children living at the family's home, 119 Strong Road, Proctor, were put in protective custody.

Morgan and Sloan posted bonds of $1,000 and were released from the Crittenden County Detention Center on Friday.

“Any case that involves the death of a child is a very difficult case to work, and I commend Jennifer Goodbar for her work on this,” Martin said. “She put in a lot of hours and a lot of hard work to bring this case to a close.”