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Toddler dies after being left in hot car | News

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Toddler dies after being left in hot car

Sarasota, Florida -- A 2-year-old girl died after she was left inside a hot car, and now her father is facing manslaughter charges.

Sarasota Police detectives say 23-year-old Uriel Hernandez forgot about Alejandra Hernandez in a car for several hours Sunday morning when the temperature outside was between 85 to 95 degrees.

On Instagram, her mother, Valeria Hernandez, says she's "mi mundo" my world. On Facebook, Uriel Hernandez is seen adoring Alejandra. The two shared custody of the little girl.

"She was always so pretty and very bright," says neighbor Juanita Sifuentes. "He seemed like an excellent father."

But Sifuentes says Hernandez's apparent negligence is inexcusable. "That was very irresponsible of him."

Alejandra would visit her father on Sundays at the mobile home park off North Orange Avenue, but this Sunday would be her last.

Investigators say Uriel Hernandez came home around 6 a.m. Sunday, went inside for a moment to get a phone charger, but fell asleep leaving his daughter in a hot car for five hours.

Police say when Uriel Hernandez woke up he found his daughter lifeless. Police say it's not clear if he called 911 before he called the child's mother, but by the time both of them were called -- it was too late.

"The child's body temperature was 106 degrees," says Sgt. Tom Shanafelt, a detective with the police department's Criminal Investigation Division.

"There's no amount of time that it's OK to leave you child in a car, [same] goes for pets, too," says Dr. Robert Weiss, a pediatrician.

Weiss says a car's temperature rises quickly in the Florida heat. Take a car parked in the sun on an 85-degree day.

"In one hour it's 135, 155, 160 degrees internally in that period."

And since children cannot regulate their body temperature, Weiss says heat stress sets in within minutes.

"It goes from dizziness, to thirst, anxiety, confusion and a period of seizures and coma. A very terrible death," says Weiss.

A death Weiss says could have been prevented.

Police say the investigation into the toddler's death continues. They are waiting on an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Hernandez did not show up in court for his first appearance before a judge. The judge set his bond at $500,000.

Check this link for more information on the dangers to children in hot vehicles.