Police: 1-year-old boy dies after being left in hot car

PINECREST, FLA. (WSVN) - The 1-year-old boy, who had been found alone in a car outside a home in Pinecrest on Monday afternoon died Tuesday, police said.

According to Miami-Dade Police, Samuel Schnall died at Baptist Hospital a day after being found in the blue Toyota Camry, which was parked outside of his grandparent’s house. The child had just turned a year old on Jan. 20.

Pinecrest Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene Monday afternoon, near Southwest 77th Avenue and 124th Terrace, after they received a call about an unresponsive child, just before 4 p.m. 7’s Skyforce HD hovered above the scene as investigators surrounded the home.

According to investigators, by the time officers arrived at the scene, the child was responding but not well. He was rushed to Baptist Hospital in critical condition but did not survive.

Temperatures were in the low 80s at the time he was found inside the parked Toyota Camry.

Paramedics rushed the child to Baptist Hospital where he was later pronounced dead on Tuesday, just before noon. “This is a horrific situation for the family members involved, for the parents of this child,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Jennifer Capote.

Officials said the toddler was not in his parent’s care but did not say who exactly was driving the car.

They confirmed that a family member was out with the child before they came back to the house in Pinecrest. “This child had been out and about with a family member throughout the day,” Capote said. “Upon returning here, the child was left in the vehicle.”

Police said the family member went inside the home, leaving the toddler behind.

Neighbors said they prayed for the child upon hearing about the incident. They told 7News that the outcome is heartbreaking.

“I have a 1-year-old, so I don’t know how you survive this,” said neighbor Peter Casablanca. “This is so hard. Our hearts go out to them and the community. It’s our child.”

Investigators did not specify exactly how long the 1-year-old was left alone inside the vehicle but did confirm it was more than an hour.

Capote also said the incident serves as a reminder to always observe caution when caring for children. “There could be a time when you’re taking care of somebody else’s child, and you don’t realize because it’s not the norm for you to maybe get out of your vehicle and check your vehicle,” she said. “Make sure that we check that all the children are out of the car.”

“It’s a human error, and it’s a difficult thing for any family,” Casablanca said. “It’s something that shouldn’t happen, but it happens.”

The Florida Department of Children and Families released a statement that said in part, “We are devastated to hear that the child passed away today and will continue to investigate and assist the family in any way possible as they grieve their loss. The family has no prior involvement with the child welfare system.”

Police are also conducting their own investigation.

Police have not yet filed any charges.

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