2-Year-Old Girl Dies After Parents 'Decided To Leave' Her In Hot Car

By Jason Hall

May 20, 2023

Flashing Lights on Police Car
Photo: Getty Images

A 2-year-old Florida girl died after she was purposely left in a hot car by her parents while sleeping.

The child's parents, Kathreen Adams, 23, and Christopher McLean, 32, were charged with child neglect, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia in relation to her death, with additional charges expected, Holmes County Sheriff John Tate announced during a news conference on Wednesday (May 17) via NBC News.

Authorities responded to a report at a home in Prosperity, a Florida Panhandle community, at 3:43 p.m. on Tuesday (May 16) when a woman called 911 hysterically. The 911 operator was unable to get information from the woman because she was screaming during the call and a deputy found a person carrying the unresponsive 2-year-old girl upon arriving at the home.

The deputy immediately performed CPR on the child before emergency medical services arrived at the home and took the child before she was pronounced dead shortly after. Adams initially claimed that her daughter was unresponsive inside the home, however, the sheriff said the girl's temperature was 107 degrees upon arrival, "so we knew something wasn't adding up."

Investigators later discovered that the child was left inside the vehicle for an estimated 14 hours. Adams eventually admitted that she left work around midnight and went to a relative's house to pick up the 2-year-old and her 4-year-old brother, at which point the three drove back to the home, the sheriff said.

"The baby was asleep in the car seat. They decided to leave the child in the car and went inside and ultimately fell asleep and did not wake up or did not realize that the child was in the car until around 3:41 that afternoon," Tate said via NBC News.

Tate specified that Adams had "purposely, through her own statement, purposely left the child in the car throughout the night." McLean was described as being uncooperative with police and "did not wish to give us a statement or talk to us at that time," according to Tate.

The sheriff said there were discrepancies about when the couple actually found the girl and when 911 was called, as well as whether Adams was telling the truth about the 4-year-old getting out of the car and going into the house.

"We do not have any evidence of whether he was in the car or in the house. That's still something we're trying to find out," the sheriff said about the 4-year-old.

A police search of the couple's home uncovered methamphetamine, marijuana, CBD gummies and drug paraphernalia, Tate told reporters during the press conference. Adams told police that she smoked marijuana after entering the home.

"Don't do drugs. I honestly believe methamphetamine, drugs is the culprit behind this death," Tate said. "That's what happens when you use drugs, you lose sense of what's going on in reality and this kind of stuff happens. Probably if they wasn't on drugs, we probably wouldn't be here today."

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