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Girl, 2, dies after Florida parents ‘decided to leave girl in car,’ authorities say


May 20, 2023

A 2-year-old Florida girl who fell asleep in her car seat has died after her parents purposely left her in a hot car, authorities said.

The girl’s parents, Kathreen Adams, 23, and Christopher McLean, 32, were arrested and charged with child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Additional charges are expected, Holmes County Sheriff John Tate said in a Press conference Wednesday.

Deputies responded to a home in the Florida Panhandle community of Prosperity at 3:43 p.m. Tuesday after a hysterical woman called 911. Sheriff Tate said the 911 operator was unable to obtain information from the woman because she was Screaming. The responding officer found a person in the home carrying the unresponsive 2-year-old child.

The deputy immediately began CPR until emergency medical services arrived and took over, but the child was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Adams initially told officers that she found her daughter inside the home unresponsive. The sheriff said the boy’s temperature was 107 degrees «so we knew something was off.»

During the investigation, authorities learned that the boy had been left in the car for about 14 hours. Adams eventually told officers that she had left work around midnight and went to a relative’s house to pick up the 2-year-old girl and the 4-year-old brother of the girl.

Adams, McLean and the children then headed home, the sheriff said.

“The baby was asleep in the car seat. They decided to leave the child in the car and they went inside and eventually fell asleep and didn’t wake up or realize the child was in the car until around 3:41 PM. » he said.

The sheriff said Adams «deliberately, through his own statement, purposefully left the girl in the car overnight.»

McLean was uncooperative and invoked his rights «and did not want to give us a statement or speak to us at the time,» according to the sheriff.

Sheriff Tate said there are some discrepancies as to what time the couple found the girl and when 911 was called. Adams also said the 4-year-old got out of the car and went into the home.

“We don’t have any evidence if he was in the car or in the house. That’s something we’re still trying to figure out,» the sheriff said of the 4-year-old.

A search of the couple’s home turned up methamphetamine, marijuana, CBD gummies and drug paraphernalia, the sheriff told reporters. Adams told authorities that she and McLean smoked marijuana after entering the home.

Asked if he had a message for the community, the sheriff said, «Don’t get high. I honestly think the meth, the drugs are to blame for this death.»

“That’s what happens when you use drugs, you lose the sense of what’s happening in reality and these kinds of things happen. Probably if they weren’t on drugs, we probably wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

The 4-year-old boy has been taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families.