Still happening: Woman left kids in car, cops say

NEED TO KNOW
  • Police called in similar cases in California, Georgia, New York, Florida and Tennessee in recent days
  • Woman handcuffed after leaving two children in car
  • 3-year-old Logan Cox died after locking himself in a car with the family dog
Still happening: Woman left kids in car, cops say

Left in a car: Watch temps rise to 120 °F in minutes!

Left in a car: Watch temps rise to 120 °F in minutes!

Is there a ‘cloud of suspicion’ over hot car mom?

The story of the hot car death in Georgia, which HLN has covered from the outset, has not stemmed the tide of incidents involving children being left in vehicles.

A woman was handcuffed this week in La Mesa, California, after allegedly leaving her two young children in a car.

CNN affiliate KGTV reports that Monica Yang left her 4-year-old and 9-month-old in the hot car Thursday while she shopped at a Dollar Store and CVS. The children were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Yang's fiance, Merrick Bighames, said that the kids were fine.

"She's a great mother … she doesn't go out, she doesn't party; she gives everything up for her children," Bighames told KGTV. "They were both asleep in the car. I'm sure trying to lug a really big 9-month-old and a 4-year-old while they're both asleep is difficult. She meant to run into the store quickly and come out, but unfortunately she was in there for too long."

Map: Every U.S. hot car death in 2014

That same day in Apopka, Florida, a foster mother left her 15-month-old son in a hot car for 20 minutes while she went grocery shopping in Publix, reports the Orlando Sentinel

"The child's hair was wet from sweat and he was warm to the touch, but otherwise found to be in good health," the police said, according to the Sentinel.

A similar case was reported July 10 in Tyrone, Georgia, when a woman left her son in the car for a half hour outside of a Publix. CNN affiliate WSBTV reports that he woman, Semeatress Robinson, was charged with reckless conduct. The boy complained of being hot but was otherwise fine.

Fortunately, the children in these scenarios were not injured, but in the case of Logan Cox, the results were more dire.

On July 2, 3-year-old Logan Cox walked out the front door of his South Carolina home to play with his dog, a basset hound-pit bull mix. While his mother slept inside on the living room couch, Logan and the dog climbed inside a black Mitsubishi Galant parked in front of the house. However, the Lancaster County Sheriff's office says they became trapped inside the hot car when the door shut and Logan was unable to open it.

On July 6, Logan Cox died in the Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital where he was rushed four days earlier after relatives found him inside that car. The family's dog also died.

The 3-year-old's death is at least the 15th this year to occur as the result of a child being stuck in a hot car, whether accidentally or intentionally. Logan's tragic death comes at a time of heightened awareness of these types of incidents too, as the investigation of Georgia dad Justin Ross Harris, whose 2-year-old son died after being left in his car for seven hours, has drawn national attention.

Backseat tragedy: How often are kids left in hot cars?

Logan Cox's grandfather, Jimmy Clevinger, said the little boy was conscious when EMTs arrived and took him to be airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center, according to the Charlotte Observer. Clevinger told the newspaper that last Thursday, doctors were still hopeful Logan would be able to recover.

CNN affiliate WSOC reports the Department of Social Services is investigating, and Logan's mom wants the public to know his death was an accident. No charges have been filed.

The same cannot be said for parents in two similar cases that occurred over the holiday weekend.

In Long Island, a father has been arrested after he left his 2-year-old daughter inside his car while he went shopping last week. A police officer broke one of the car's windows with his baton after passersby noticed the little girl inside. She was taken to a hospital to be treated and is expected to make a full recovery. Her father, Melvin Marroquin, has pleaded not guilty to charges of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Opinion: Can parents really forget kids in cars?

'Look Before You Lock': Hot car deaths can be prevented

Charges have also been filed against two Tennessee parents who told police they knowingly left their 15-month-old baby girl in their locked Nissan Altima on July 5 while they shopped for groceries, according to WMC.

The child was rescued by Shelby County police and firefighters and is hospitalized in stable condition. WMC cites police documents in reporting that she will be released to her grandmother.

Her parents, Brittany Zanetti and Matthew Brown, were charged with child abuse and neglect.

Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN

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