Sumter infant died from
being in hot car, preliminary report concludes
boy who died Wednesday after being found unresponsive at the Swan Lake Iris
Gardens apartments died from being in a hot car, the Sumter County Coroner
said in a preliminary finding released Thursday.
The official cause
of death of Mekhi Rembert was hyperthermia, Coroner Robert Baker said. A
final determination won’t be made until toxicology test results come back
from the State Law Enforcement Division, he said. That usually takes between
five and eight weeks.
In severe hyperthermia, the body’s normal
system of regulating body heat – such as sweating – breaks down and cannot
handle the heat in the environment.
The high temperature in Sumter
Wednesday was reported at Shaw Air Force Base as 91 degrees, Whitney Smith,
meteorologist with the Columbia office of the National Weather Service said.
According to San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences,
after 10 minutes, 90 degrees outside will feel like 109 degrees inside a
car. After an hour, that jumps to 133 degrees.
Baker said he could
not determine how long the child was left in the hot vehicle; he has gotten
Police were called to the Sumter apartment
complex at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. They tried to revive the child, Sumter
police said in a news release. He was taken to Palmetto Health Tuomey
Hospital, where he died.
Police continue to investigate the death and
have not released additional information about the case.