Infant left alone in car dies, police investigate
MIRAMAR, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police continue to investigate the death of a child who was left alone inside a vehicle.
According to police, 14-month-old Kimberly James was left alone inside a sweltering car outside the Holiness Born Again Church, located at 6452 Pembroke Rd., Sunday. Miramar Police said, Kimberly was left unattended for several hours in the parked Honda Accord, while her father attended church services. "I'm just shocked," one woman said.
James was rushed to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Guy Italian, who owns a business near the church, said he knew the child's father, Odane James. According to Italian, James is a pastor who runs the church with his father. "Very nice guy, gentle guy. He used to come here at the restaurant because he's my landlord," said Italian.
"He's a good guy, you know, and I don't know how that happened," Jean Merone said.
This is the third similar tragedy in just three months. A 3-year-old was left in a hot sport utility vehicle in August in West Miami-Dade and died. A few weeks before that, a 2-year-old also died after being left in a daycare van in Delray Beach.
Lissette Valdes-Valle of the Department of Children and Families said this a recurring problem that occurs far more often than reported. "We're very busy," she said. "We have tons of things going on. A child might fall asleep on the back of the car."
There are tips out there to keep parents or caretakers from forgetting children in the back seat, including:
-If you have a child in the backseat of your car, put your purse or cellular phone next to them. That way, you have to go into the back seat before you go inside.
-Put a teddy bear or a diaper bag in the front seat to help you remember that your baby is in the back.
-And never, ever leave little ones alone in a car, even if it's just to run into the store and grab one thing.
No criminal charges have been filed, as of yet. Miramar Police have not released all the details, although, police said, they believe Kimberly died as a result of a tragic accident. The State Attorney's Office will make the decision on what, if any charges, will be filed.
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