Child dies in hot car outside Bishop England High School; Charleston police investigating

DANIEL ISLAND — A baby girl died Aug. 25 after her mother forgot her inside a locked car outside Bishop England High School that likely topped 100 degrees, according to the Berkeley County coroner.

The 16-month-old toddler was discovered in a blue Subaru SUV in the school’s parking lot in front of the main entrance. A passerby discovered the unresponsive child in her car seat and called 911, according to Berkeley County Coroner Darnell Hartwell.

The baby’s mother works at the school and arrived between 7:30 and 8 a.m., he said.

“The mom works here at the school, and the child was forgotten inside the vehicle,” Hartwell said.

He call the girl’s death a tragic accident. An autopsy will be conducted at MUSC, but Hartwell said that he believes the baby died due to heat.

He said a child could only survive “minutes” inside a car in those conditions. “I definitely feel confident that it was triple digits within that car at peak time of today.”

Bishop England is a private high school overseen by the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. School officials canceled the Friday night football against First Baptist. They later announced that classes will be canceled on Monday, though an optional Mass service will be held for students, families and faculty. Priests and counselors also will be available that day and throughout the week.

“We ask that you please keep this family and our school community in your prayers during this unspeakably difficult time,” Bishop England High School President Patrick Finneran wrote in an email to parents.

In the early evening Aug. 25, small groups of students and parents were hugging and crying outside the brick church adjacent to the school.

Mindy Jose lay a bouquet of white flowers around 6:30 p.m. beside a tree near the spot where the SUV remained parked. The mother said she was picking up her son from junior varsity football earlier when she learned a child had died.

“I saw a bunch of kids gathered and texting, crying,” Jose said. “My heart breaks as a mom for the whole family. It’s just so tragic.”
[ Return to ]

“Any time there’s a loss of a child, it’s just a very tragic event no matter if it’s by natural means or by accident or by some other means,” he said.