A 60-year-old man from South Jersey was charged with abuse and neglect after he left a 22-month-old child in the back of his van for more than 8 hours back on Aug. 16, according to multiple reports.
Authorities received a frantic call from a woman at 3:30 p.m. that day. The caller said she had seen a baby in the back of a vehicle, and that the infant had been in the car for several hours, telling the emergency dispatcher that the infant’s legs were blue and that she wasn’t breathing, according to the call obtained by Courier Post. The woman broke the window in an attempt to save the baby, but she was not breathing.
The 22-month-old infant was pronounced dead after authorities arrived on the scene—a parking lot near the Lindenwold stop on the PATCO High-Speed line around 3:45 p.m. Authorities ruled the death as accidental, ABC News reported.
According to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Shelton Shambry currently faced one fourth-degree count of abuse and neglect after the death of Milliani Robertson as of Sept. 16.
Shambry, who was the legal guardian of the 22-month-old Robertson, put her in his car before 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 16, according to the prosecutors, ABC News reported. Shambry told authorities that he would typically drop Milliani off at her daycare first and then Shambry’s family member would be dropped off. That day the family member asked to be dropped off first, before Milliani, according to court documents, ABC News reported.
After Shambry dropped the family member off at work, he had forgotten to drop Milliani off at the daycare and drove back home, leaving the infant in the car unintentionally, the court documents read. When Shambry went off to work at 11:30 a.m., he parked his car in the train station parking lot, still unaware of the infant in the back of his van, and then locked his car before getting on the train, the court documents read.
The temperature that day in Lindenwold had reached 87 degrees, but it felt more like 92 degrees, according to ABC News.
Shambry was charged on a summons, and released after, ABC News reported. He is due to be in court on Sept. 26, according to prosecutors, said the news outlet. Shambry does not yet have an attorney to represent him.
Persons charged with criminal offenses are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
According to the nonprofit organization KidsAndCars.org, at least 41 children have died from being left or locked in a hot car in the United States in 2019, ABC News reported. The organization is advocating to implement technology that would detect the presence of rear occupants.