8-month-old baby dies after being left in car during father’s arrest

An 8-month-old girl has died after her father left her in his car during his arrest, according to the Snellville Police Department in Georgia.

In a press release on Tuesday, 20-year-old David Gabes McCurry-Whatley arrived at the police station’s lobby around 2:17 p.m., police said in a press release. He was meeting with the trustee of the property, but the police found a dissenting warrant for his arrest.

He was held there and transferred to the Gwinnett County Jail without incident.

About seven hours later, at 9 p.m., an 8-month-old baby was brought to the emergency room in Piedmont Eastside. Her grandmother, who took her to the hospital, noted that she was left in a car after a traffic stop. Hospital staff determined that the child died.

She was Whatley’s daughter.

The staff told a Snellville Police sergeant, who was on duty off duty at the hospital.

Police found Whatley’s 2007 Mazda 3 in the parking lot of Snellville City Hall, near the police station.

Police said Whatley’s entire interaction at the police station – from entering the hallway to going to the county jail – was recorded with a body camera. He never mentioned that his infant daughter was in his car.

The Snellville Police Department has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to take over as the primary investigative agency in this case. CBS News has contacted the office for more information and is awaiting a response. The cause of the child’s death was not revealed.

In 2021, 23 children died in a hot car, and on average, 38 children under 15 die each year of heat stroke after being left in a car, according to the National Safety Council.

Since 1990, at least 60% of deaths from hot car crashes have been from children unintentionally left behind, according to a report by Chris Van Cleef of CBS News. Some car companies have introduced sensors to alert car owners if they lock the car and walk away without checking the back seat. Automakers have agreed to put some kind of back-seat alert standard into cars by 2025.

Experts say keeping an object, such as a child’s toy, in the front of the car may help parents remember their children in the back seat. Or leave something the driver needs – such as a handbag or briefcase – in the back seat.

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