A 10-month-old child in Florida has died after her babysitter left her in a car while she babysat other children, authorities said Thursday.
Rhonda Jewell, 46, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, according to a report from the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, after she was accused of leaving the young child unattended in a vehicle that was not moving “while the outside temperature was 98 degrees Fahrenheit with temperatures inside the vehicle reaching more than 133 degrees for a period of at least 5 hours.”
The incident occurred on Wednesday around 8 a.m. local time when Jewell picked up the child from the home of the child’s mother in north Macclenny, a town about 30 miles west of Jacksonville. Then she drove to another house in town where she babysat other children.
Upon arriving at the second home, Jewell left the child in the vehicle. According to the report from the sheriff’s office, Jewell told investigators she assumed the baby was sleeping, so she entered the house and began interacting with the three other children she was babysitting, planning to have the baby later but “completely” forgot to do so.
It wasn’t until the child’s mother arrived to pick up her daughter around 1 p.m. that Jewell realized the child had been forgotten. Deputies found the child in the garage lying on the seat of a golf cart and began life-saving measures, the report said.
Sheriff’s deputies and rescue personnel said the child’s skin “feels very hot”.
The child was transported to Fraser Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead.
Jewell was arrested and held at the Baker County Detention Center. She made her first appearance in court on Thursday morning, where her bail was set at $25,000. Jewell has been babysitting the child since June of this year, the report said.
Police ask people to respect the privacy of the child’s family.
“Each of us is given the gift of life every morning we wake up and every evening as we finish our day, we are blessed if our family is safe and sound,” the Baker County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. “In the blink of an eye, our world can be turned upside down. Please keep this in mind as you try to understand the tragedy that happened in our small town yesterday.”