Dallas-area elementary school teacher Vibha Marks has been charged with child abandonment after she left her one-year-old daughter in a hot car last week in the faculty parking lot of Frank Guzick Elementary School for nearly six hours.
The child, Victoria Marks, died after her mother left her in the black four-door Toyota from roughly 7:45 a.m., when she clocked in, until 1:26 p.m. that afternoon. The temperature outside had reached approximately 86 degrees. Inside the locked car, the temperature was hotter.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Vibha Marks said in an arrest affidavit that she “was certain” she had successfully delivered Victoria to her regular daycare facility that fateful morning.
Exenia Gomez, a high-school senior and a first-grade teacher’s aide at the school, first spotted Victoria inside the car, motionless.
The high-school senior managed to break a window to get to the one-year-old girl and initiate CPR, reports the Morning News.
When police arrived, reads the arrest affidavit, Victoria “had turned blue around the lips.” Foam was emerging from her mouth. Gomez was holding the girl, weeping hysterically.
The child was transported to Baylor Hospital where a staff physician pronounced her dead.
When police first confronted Marks, 42, the teacher appeared oblivious to the appalling situation.
“Is my husband okay?” she asked at first, according to an arrest warrant obtained by CBS DFW. “I’m a good person. Did I do wrong? Did something happen to my baby at daycare?”
The charge of child abandonment is a second-degree felony.
On Saturday, notes CBS DFW, Marks was released from jail on a $50,000 bond.
The Dallas Independent School District has placed Marks on administrative leave.
A nonprofit called KidsAndCars.org keeps track of all the awful things that can happen when children and automobiles come together. Incredibly, at least 613 children died of heat stroke inside vehicles between 1991 and 2011.
On average, since 1998, 38 kids have died every year from vehicular heat stroke.