No charges after 22-month-old dies in hot van — at least for now
LINDENWOLD — No one has been charged — at least not yet — after a 22-month-old child was left in a hot van and died at the PATCO High Speed Line station in Lindenwold, officials said Saturday afternoon.
Camden dispatchers first got a 911 call about the child being in the van at 3:38 p.m., the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said. When the Delaware River Port Authority and Lindenwold Police arrived, they found the girl unresponsive in her car seat with the passenger window broken, the prosecutor's office said.
The baby was pronounced deceased at the scene at 3:54 p.m., the prosecutor's office said.
It wasn't clear from information released by the prosecutor's office who broke the van's window or called 911. The prosecutor's office also hasn't released the names of anyone involved or said how long the child was in the car.
It said the investigation into the incident is ongoing. It didn't say whether charges might be considered later, as that continues.
Temperatures had been in the 80s Friday.
"A child's body heats up three to five times faster than an adult's body," AAA/Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble told New Jersey 101.5 previously. "On a 95-degree day, a car can heat up to over 180 degrees. And it only takes temperatures at 104 degrees for internal organs to start to shut down. So even in a matter of moments we can have a catastrophe on our hands."
“Children are fragile, and they are certainly more susceptible to the heat and hot weather than adults,” Noble said. “There could be brain damage, severe dehydration. Their internal organs shut down. So this is a very dangerous situation.”
Helicopter footage by 6 ABC Action News and other media outlets showed the vehicle surrounded by yellow police tape and shattered glass on the ground. Some of the windows were covered with plastic. The owners of several cars parked adjacent to the mini van were blocked in by the investigation.
A friend of the child's family told CBS Philly at the parking lot the child had suffocated. Officials have not disclosed a suspected cause of death
In May, a 21-month-old girl died after being left inside a car parked in the driveway of a Lakewood home for two hours. The girl's mother, Chaya Shurkin, was later charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
In July, an Atlantic City man was arrested after, police say, they found his 3-year-old son left alone in a hot car for three hours — while the man was in a local restaurant. That child survived.
A man was arrested in June after, police say, he left his 6-year-old in an SUV parked on a Jersey City street overnight. That child survived.
Last year, while two women attempted to shoplift from a local store, their children were left in a sweltering hot car, according to police. Those children, left for about an hour and a half in 90-degree heat, survived.
A mom who said she left her 22-month-old child in the car while she went to use the restroom in a store was arrested in Secaucus in May of last year. Temperatures had been in the 80s. Her child survived.
A Lakewood teacher who police say left her infant in a hot car covered with a blanket outside a shopping center in Howell in 2016 later entered a pre-trial intervention program to avoid jail time. Police said the baby was left in the locked car for about 40 minutes. Temperatures outside that day were in the 80s. The windows were rolled up and the engine was off. Two good Samaritans pulled the the screaming baby out of a locked car parked at the Kohl’s on Route 9.
— With reporting by Louis C. Hochman and Dan Alexander
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