Sarasota man charged with death of daughter, 2, in hot car

Posted by MARC R. MASFERRER on June 9, 2014 

SARASOTA -- A Sarasota man was charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter after he left her in a hot car while he went inside his home and fell asleep, according to the Sarasota police.

Uriel Hernandez, 23, is charged with one count of felony aggravated manslaughter of a child.

On Sunday, Hernandez had picked up the toddler from his ex-girlfriend’s house at about 6 a.m. Sunday and drove to his mobile home in the 1500 block of Orange Avenue.

“The father went inside to get a phone charger and fell asleep, mistakenly leaving the child in the car,” Sarasota police Detective Sgt. Tom Shanafelt said. “When the father awoke about five hours later, he went out and found the child in the car and unresponsive.”

Hernandez called the child’s mother, who immediately rushed over. Both parents called 911.

The mother told detectives that she found her daughter not breathing and unresponsive on Hernandez’s bed when she arrived, the arrest report states. The mother took the child out in front of the home until paramedics arrived. The child was then rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital at about noon. “Staff at the hospital deemed that the circumstances surrounding that child’s death were suspicious as the child’s body temperature was 106 degree,” Shanafelt said.

Signs of rigor mortis were also setting in already, according to the arrest report. Investigators say the temperature outside in the city of Sarasota was between 85 degrees and 95 degrees at the time of the incident.

Sarasota police detectives were called out and initiated a child death investigation. Police conducted an audio recorded interview with Hernandez with a Spanish translator at the hospital.

“Uriel first said he found (her) in the bed warm to the touch and called 911 and (the mom),” Sarasota Detective Megan Buck wrote. Hernandez was arrested and is being held without bond at the Sarasota County jail.

An autopsy is expected to be completed late Monday to determine the cause of death, police said.

“This is an extremely tragic and unfortunate event that no parent should ever have to deal with,” Shanafelt said. “It has been said, and it’s true in this case, that no parent should ever bury their child.” The family has declined to make any comments to media, according to Sarasota Police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge.

“The family is responding as you would expect to the loss of a 2-year-old child,” Shanafelt said.

The family had no history with Department of Children and Families.

The case is still an active investigation, and police declined release any additional details. Police it has been at least a few years since they have dealt with a case like this in Sarasota. On June 22, 2013, 3-year-old Kyrese Dwayne Anderson died in Manatee County when her parents left her in the back seat of the family’s black 2005 Chevy SUV Saturday afternoon for three to four hours while they attended a funeral.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vehicle with outside temperatures in the low 80s and a window rolled down 2 inches can reach deadly heat levels in as little as 10 minutes. Children under the age of 4 are also at higher risk for heat-related illness since their bodies overheat easily.

A review of cases by the NHTSA found most fatalities from child hyperthermia cases result from a change in the driver’s routine.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service