Arpad Benedek/iStock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — A Florida day care owner was arrested on child neglect charges on Wednesday after a baby girl died in a scorching hot van outside of the facility.
Police arrested 56-year-old Darryl Ewing, co-owner of the Ewing’s Love & Hope Preschool and Academy in Jacksonville, where an employee found the infant unconscious inside of a blazing hot van, authorities said Wednesday evening.
The baby girl, who police said was just a few months old, had been in the vehicle for nearly five hours, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Brian Kee said at a news conference.
It’s believed she suffered a “heat-related injury,” Kee said. Her name was not released. No other children were hurt, Kee said, adding that interviews were ongoing.
The temperature reached 92 degrees in Jacksonville on Wednesday. The baby had been in a van outside the day care from about 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kee said.
ABC News’ call to the day care was not immediately returned.
The Department of Children and Families in Duvall County has begun the process of issuing an emergency suspension order to cease operations at the facility, the agency said in a statement. The facility has been licensed with DCF since 2016.
“We are all just beyond devastated,” Amber Rollins, director of the national nonprofit KidsAndCars.org, told ABC News on Wednesday.
The group is advocating for mandatory alarm technology in cars.
“We have to do more,” Rollins said. “This cannot continue to happen week after week, year after year when the solution is right at our fingertips.”
Hot car deaths reached a record level last year with at least 52 children killed, according to KidsAndCars.org.
Just this week, a 2-year-old boy was rescued after he was left in a hot car in Georgia.
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