Infant Discovered Dead In Hot Car, Babysitter Gets Arrested, Police Say

(Photo by Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Kate Hirzel Contributor
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A Florida babysitter was arrested and charged after allegedly leaving a 10-month-old infant unattended in a hot vehicle for hours Wednesday, according to authorities.

“As the Sheriff of a small community, posting the details of this tragedy is very hard for me. I am asking my community to respect the privacy of the victim’s family and to please join me in prayer for the family and everyone involved,” Sheriff Scotty Rhoden of Baker County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) said in a news release.

46-year-old Rhonda C. Jewell was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a Child, BCSO wrote in a news release. Jewell, who had been acting as the babysitter for the infant since June, arrived at the baby’s mother’s residence at approximately 8:00 AM. She then proceeded to drive to another residence, where she was expected to babysit other children as well. (RELATED: Woman Allegedly Gives Her Baby To Random Couple At Restaurant, Said She Couldn’t Care For It)

Jewell reportedly left the 10-month-old infant inside the vehicle and entered the residence. Jewell was allegedly unaware of this until around 1:00 p.m. when the baby’s mother arrived to pick up her child. The heat went up to 96.6 degrees Fahrenheit in Baker County early Wednesday afternoon, and the car reportedly reached over 133 degrees Fahrenheit, according to First Coast News.

The infant was rushed to Fraser Memorial Hospital for emergency medical attention and was pronounced deceased, per the sheriff’s news release.

Law enforcement took Jewell into custody and transferred her to the Baker County Detention Center. Jewell appeared in court for an initial hearing Thursday morning. The judge set her bond at $25,000 with GPS monitoring to be implemented upon her release.

“Each of us are given the gift of life every morning we wake up and every evening when we finish our day, we are blessed if our family is safe and healthy,” Rhoden said. “In the blink of an eye, our world can be turned upside down.”