Akron baby dies after being left in hot vehicle
Akron police say baby sitter apparently forgot 13-month-old while taking 4 other children to visit day-care center on 90-degree day

By Jewell Cardwell
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: September 3, 2011 - 12:30 AM Akron baby dies after being left in hot vehicle September 02,2011 09:30 PM GMT Jewell Cardwell Beacon Journal Publishing Co. Copyright � 2011 Beacon Journal Publishing Co. Inc and Black Press. All Rights Reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of the Akron Beacon Journal is expressly prohibited.
Akron police say a 13-month-old girl has died after being left for hours in an SUV parked in the driveway of a day-care center on Russell Avenue.

Investigators were trying to determine what happened in the hours leading up to the discovery of the unresponsive baby in a hot vehicle at 1:55 p.m. Friday in the 600 block of Russell Avenue.

Aolani McCray was taken to Akron Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police Capt. Sylvia Trundle said another day-care operator in the city brought five children to the Russell Avenue center for a visit about 9:30 a.m. Trundle said it appears the sitter took only four of the five children out of the vehicle.

“We got a call about an unresponsive baby in a vehicle,” Trundle said of the initial call for help.

Families who arrived to pick up their children from the Russell Avenue business Friday afternoon declined to comment.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the Akron area on Friday, citing temperatures in the 90s and high humidity making it feel like temperatures were well over 100.

One mother, who came out of the home carrying a child, reportedly collapsed at the end of the driveway.

A neighbor who lives two doors down from the home day-care center had nothing but kind words for the couple who operate the business.

“They’re the nicest people who would ever want to meet,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. “I think they’ve been running a day-care center for at least 10 years — and doing a great job.”

News of the tragedy is hard to comprehend, she said.

“Sweet Jesus!” she said, shaking her head.

Police Capt. Dan Zampelli said detectives, who were still trying to determine how long the baby was left in the vehicle, were conducting interviews.

Authorities have not released the name of the business or the sitter who was visiting the Russell Avenue site.

“We do know the baby was left for some period of time. Just how long, we don’t know,” Zampelli said. “The preliminary cause of death appears to be heat exhaustion.”

Zampelli said the 30-year-old baby sitter apparently didn’t realize the girl was left in the car until she came out of the house about 2 p.m.

“As we do with every sudden death, we always investigate,” he said. “No charges have been filed at this time. Detectives are still reviewing.”

Safety experts say the interior temperature of a vehicle parked outside can soar to dangerous levels in a short time.

One study found that the temperature inside a Chevy van parked in a sun-drenched parking lot climbed to 120 degrees within 30 minutes, even though the outside air was just over 70 degrees.

Within two hours, the van’s interior temperature rose to 140 degrees.

Young children, the elderly and pets are particularly vulnerable when left in a vehicle because their bodies are ill-equipped to fight off the heat and resulting dehydration.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.