10-month-old dies after being left in hot car in
Macclenny; criminal investigation underway
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 10-month-old girl is dead after the
Baker County Sheriff’s Office said she was left in a hot car in
Macclenny on Wednesday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office
said it’s not clear how long the child was in the car but it is
investigating and charges are expected to be filed.
child was found in a car on Estates Street around 1 p.m. when
temperatures were in the mid-90s.
No other details were
Woman arrested after baby in her care
dies after being left in hot car for 5 hours, BCSO says
MACCLENNY, Fla. — Rhonda Jewell was arrested for aggravated
manslaughter after a child in her care died after being left
inside a 133-degree car on Wednesday, the Baker County Sheriff’s
According to Jewell’s BCSO arrest report,
Jewell picked up the 10-month-old baby girl around 8 a.m. to
The report said that Jewell, 46, has been
babysitting the baby since June. She said she picked the baby
girl up from her home and then drove to Burger King, but the
line was too long then drove off.
Jewell then went to
another home in Macclenny where she babysits three other
In the report, she told deputies she assumed
the baby was asleep, so she went inside the house and started
interacting with the other kids. Then she told deputies she
forgot the child was in the car.
She told BCSO she was
going to return to the car to get the baby, but forgot.
At around 1 p.m., the mother of the baby girl arrived and saw
her child inside the hot car not breathing and also had blue
lips. She called 911 and the baby was taken to Ed Fraser
Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
deputies arrived, the child was on the seat of a golf cart in
the garage, the report said.
Jewell’s arrest report said
one of the detectives touched the baby’s skin and it was very
hot to the touch and asked medical staff to take the baby’s
The medical staff said the internal
temperature was 110 degrees but they said 110 degrees was the
highest the thermometer could read. The external temperature of
the baby’s body was 102 degrees. There were no other trauma
marks on the infant.
Jewell was placed under arrest. She
made her first court appearance on Thursday morning and BCSO
said her bond was set at $25,000 with GPS monitoring upon
Sheriff Scotty Rhoden released the following
statement about the incident on the BCSO Facebook page:
“Dear Citizens of Baker County,
“As Sheriff, I would
like to take a moment to acknowledge the magnitude of the
tragedy felt throughout our county yesterday. At approximately
1:00 PM, the Baker County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call
that no law enforcement office ever wants to receive. As the
events after that phone call unfolded, our department had to
work a case that was tragic and deserved privacy. We did not
release a statement due to the nature of the tragedy and respect
for the victim’s family and our entire community. It is protocol
that when we make an arrest, we post the information on social
media. Before doing so, we needed to take some time yesterday as
a department to think about the impact this incident would have
on everyone in our community.
“Florida’s public records
law obligates agencies to provide copies of public records. Our
commitment to serve Baker County includes offering dignity and
compassion to our citizens while upholding our obligations.
Therefore, while we chose to maintain the privacy of this matter
in respect of the grieving family, we are obligated to answer
media requests for information. Several news outlets released
information about yesterday’s tragedy. As the Sheriff of a small
community, posting the details of this tragedy is very hard for
me. The facts of the tragedy are below, but I am asking my
community to respect the privacy of the victim’s family and to
please join me in prayer for the family and everyone involved.
Each of us are given the gift of life every morning we wake up
and every evening when we finish our day, we are blessed if our
family is safe and healthy. In the blink of an eye, our world
can be turned upside down. Please be mindful of this when trying
to understand the tragedy that took place in our small town
“Sheriff Scotty Rhoden”
Official Arrest Statement:
Defendant: Rhonda C. Jewell (46)
Manslaughter of a Child
At approximately 8:00 AM on Wednesday
morning, Rhonda Jewell picked up a 10-month-old infant from the
child’s mother’s residence in north Macclenny. Rhonda has been
the infant’s babysitter on occasions since June of this year.
Rhonda drove to another residence in south Macclenny where she
was going to babysit other children as well. Rhonda arrived and
went into the residence, leaving the infant in the vehicle. It
wasn’t until the mother of the infant arrived around 1:00 PM to
pick up the infant that Rhonda realized the infant was left in
the vehicle. The infant was transported to Fraser Memorial
Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. Rhonda Jewell was
subsequently arrested and delivered to the Baker County
Detention Center. Rhonda Jewell had an initial appearance this
morning. Her bond was set at $25,000 with GPS monitoring upon
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