Child left in van for several hours dies in Atlantic City
By LYNDA COHEN Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, September 04, 2008

8:45 p.m. Update -

ATLANTIC CITY - A toddler died Thursday after she was apparently left in her family's minivan accidentally.

The little girl's mother called police shortly after 6 p.m., saying she found the girl in the vehicle and had brought her in the house to try to revive her, Capt. Joseph Fair said. The girl - whose name will not be released until today - would have turned 4 next week, he said. She was the youngest of five children.

When Sgt. Curtis Williams arrived at the scene a minute after the call came in, the girl was in the front bedroom in the first-floor apartment of the home on North Delancy Place near the bay, Fair said.

The parents and grandmother were taken in for questioning, but early reports seemed to indicate no foul play.

"It appears to be an accident," Fair said. "A tragic accident."

A van from the Medical Examiner's Office arrived at about 7:45 p.m. to remove the girl from the home. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

The parents told police they had gone to Sam's Club earlier in the day with the girl and her grandmother. When the family arrived home, they unpacked the minivan as the girl slept in her car seat. That was about 2 p.m.

Apparently, each adult believed one of the others had taken her from the vehicle, and that she was upstairs playing with family who lives on the second floor.

A few hours later, the mother realized the girl was not there, and went to the van - whose darkly tinted windows do not allow a clear view of the inside.

The girl was in the vehicle, unresponsive, according to the police statement. The mother rushed her into the house and doused her head with water to cool her off. Attempts were made to revive her, Fair said.

"They immediately called 911," he said.

But when medical personnel arrived, they pronounced her dead.