Polk County Sheriff's Department Press
Release (July 6, 2023)
couple charged in death of toddler left in car
Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator
Sheriff’s detectives have charged husband and wife Joel and
Jazmine Rondon, both 33 years old, of Winchester Estates Circle
in Lakeland, with aggravated manslaughter of a child, a first
degree felony, after the couple left an 18-month-old toddler in
a car overnight when they returned home from partying, and the
child died while strapped into her car seat in the extreme heat
the next day.
On July 4, 2023, the couple went to a
Fourth of July celebration in Lakeland with three children under
the age of 9 years old, and did not return home until around
3:00 a.m. on July 5th. The pair consumed alcohol and smoked
marijuana while at the party. When they returned home, as they
began unloading food and items from the car, Jazmine told Joel
to bring the female toddler inside while she brought the two
other children inside. Joel observed that one of the car doors
was open at the time. Joel brought stuff inside their home, and
when he went back outside, he saw all four doors to the Hyundai
Elantra closed, and assumed Jazmine had gotten the toddler out.
He went inside and laid down in bed with his wife. Neither
husband nor wife asked each other if they had brought the victim
inside. They went to sleep.
Joel woke up around 10:00
a.m. that morning and spent about an hour getting ready for
work. Around 11:00 a.m. he asked one of the kids to go “check on
the baby” in the bedroom. The child told Joel that the baby was
not in the bedroom, at which time Joel began looking around the
house for her. He then went outside and looked in the car, which
was parked in the driveway in the full sun. Inside the car he
saw the victim still strapped in her car seat and unresponsive.
He brought the toddler still strapped in her car seat into the
house in a panic, and then he and Jazmine drove the child to
Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Despite all efforts and
cooling her body down, she could not be revived and was declared
deceased. At 2:42 p.m. her internal body temperature was 104.4.
LRH staff notified law enforcement, and they assumed the
Around 7:00 p.m. that evening, Joel and
Jazmine both submitted to drug screens by the Department of
Children and Families; Joel tested positive for meth, marijuana,
and alcohol; Jazmine tested positive for marijuana and alcohol.
An autopsy determined that the victim’s cause of death
is hyperthermia due to being left in a car, and the manner of
death is homicide. Joel and Jazmine were taken into custody on
July 6, 2023, and booked into the Polk County Jail.
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