The mother of a New Jersey toddler found dead in the backseat of her family’s car on Tuesday was seen breaking down in sobs in the arms of a police officer after being told the little girl had died.
The child, who has not yet been named, was found unconscious in the backseat of the family’s grey Honda Civic on Tuesday at 2pm.
A neighbor spotted her in her car seat in the family’s driveway in Somerset, New Jersey. He pulled her from the vehicle and performed CPR while waiting for EMTs and police to arrive.
The toddler had been in the car for at least seven hours while temperatures soared to 80 degrees, police say. Despite the frantic efforts of medical teams, the girl couldn’t be saved.
Her agonized mother was heard wailing in the driveway after being told that the girl had died. It remains unclear just how the child was forgotten about, or whether the parents could now face charges.
Neighbors described them as a loving family with at least one other daughter
‘How can that happen? How do you forget? I guess we’re all forgetful, I’ve forgotten things in the car. But how do you forget the toddler, you know? I don’t know,’ neighbor Alex Krstavski said.
‘They were just screaming in pain and anguish. She collapsed to the ground and he went to console her,’ another neighbor told NBC New York.
‘They’re great parents. I’ve seen them be very loving and doting on their daughters.’
Treana Huntley, who lived opposite them, told The Franklin Reporter that the sound of the parents’ wailing was devastating.
‘It was gut-wrenching, almost made me want to break into tears. As a mother, just hearing that pain from another mother, it was very hurtful to hear. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.’
She said the death has struck the entire neighborhood. This whole block was very emotional,’ she said.
Property records indicate that the house was last sold in 2013 for $230,000.
The child is the 22nd to die this year in the U.S. from being left in a hot car, four of which happened in a week’s time in August, according to kidsandcars.com.
Director Amber Rollins is working with families who’ve lost children to the tragic accidents to make technology that could prevent more deaths a requirement in all new vehicles.
Kids and Car Safety, along with parents, sent a letter to Pete Buttigieg, secretary of Department of Transportation, urging him to move forward with the provision that passed in the infrastructure bill last year.
‘Every parent has made mistakes, no matter what it looks like.
‘Sadly, some of the mistakes result in tragedy and none of us expect it,’ Elizabeth Crapo, whose 20-month-old daughter Marah died after being left in a car, told the organization.
‘And all of a sudden, you’re part of this club no one wants to be part of.’
‘I failed in my job as a protector. I failed my child,’ Marah’s father, Austin Crapo said.
‘I promise you nobody could make me feel worse.’