A mother and father have been charged with manslaughter in their child’s death after Florida police say they left their 18-month-old son in a car after returning home from a Fourth of July party.
Joel and Jazmin Rondon, 33, took their three children — all under the age of 9 — to a holiday celebration in Lakeland and didn’t return home until 3:00 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Jazmine told Joel to bring the 18-month-old son to her, and she put the other two children inside when she returned, the sheriff’s office said.
“Joel brought things to their home, and when he came back out, he saw all four doors of the Hyundai Elantra locked, and he thought Jazmine had taken the toddler out,” the sheriff’s office said.
The couple went to bed and did not ask about their 18-month-old son until Joel asked one of the older children to check on the toddler at 11 a.m., the sheriff’s office said. After the teenager was nowhere to be found in the house, Joel found her still strapped into her car seat.
The couple rushed her to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where she died after efforts were made to cool her body down. At 2:42 p.m., her core temperature was over 104 degrees.
“An autopsy determined the victim’s cause of death was hypertension due to being in the car and the manner of death was homicide,” the sheriff’s office said.
Joel and Jazmin submitted to drug tests that night, and the parents each tested positive for marijuana and alcohol, authorities said. Joel also tested positive for meth, the sheriff’s office said.
They were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail on Thursday, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The inmate’s records were not immediately available and it was unclear if they had attorneys.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called the situation “pure negligence” during a press conference Thursday afternoon. Judd said the couple’s two other children are with relatives, and the Department of Children and Family Services is investigating.
Temperatures were in the 70s overnight but started to warm up in the morning, Judd told reporters.
The local heat index was 105 at 11 a.m., meaning the temperature was probably 94 or 95 degrees outside, Judd estimated.
“The car was outside, not in the garage, not under the tree, not under any shade,” Judd said. “And obviously we try to recreate the temperature of the car at the same temperature. Studies show that the temperature of the car could have been between 130 and 170 degrees.
This story appeared first NBCNews.com.
This article was originally published by TODAY.com