Police: Toddler Dies in Hot Car While Palm Bay Mother Was Doing Drugs

MELBOURNE, Fla. — A Palm Bay mother is behind bars after being accused of leaving her toddler son in a hot car for hours while she did drugs inside a home, according to authorities.

Emily Hartman drove son to fire station with heat-related illness
Hartman also faces possession of cocaine with intent to sell
Emily Caroline Hartman, 26, is facing various charges after authorities are saying she left her 14-month-old son in a car while she was also allegedly buying drugs, according to the Melbourne Police Department.

Investigators say Hartman was not forthcoming about what happened to the boy. They say Hartman drove to the Melbourne Fire Station 71 here on Eau Gallie Boulevard on Thursday April 4.

The child, Richard Wighard, was suffering from heat stroke and was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center, according to the Melbourne Police Department.

Doctors at the hospital flew the child to AdventHealth for Children in Orlando for further treatment, however she died on Saturday afternoon.

Later she admitted to leaving her son alone in her car while she drank at a Melbourne bar with a friend and smoked marijuana in a home where she always got cocaine to sell, stated police in a news release.

The child was strapped in his car seat for five to six hours outside the house, as the temperatures climbed into the 80s that day, stated police.

"She parked the car directly adjacent to the house out in the street, and she was inside the house and the child was obviously inside the car, outside the ​house," explained Lt. Trevor Shaffer.

Hartman was found at a friend's house on Tuesday, April 16.

Her charges are:

Aggravated manslaughter by neglect of a child
Possession of cocaine with intent to sell
Possession of cannabis
She is expected to make a first court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

A Florida mother is accused of leaving her 14-month-old son in a hot car for at least five hours while she smoked marijuana and got cocaine.

According to Florida Today, Emily Hartman, 26, is accused of leaving Richard Wighard alone in her car several on several instances between April 3 and April 4. With her son in the car, she reportedly drank with a friend at a bar and spent the evening of April 3 meeting up with several people. The following morning, she allegedly picked up a small bag of cocaine to sell and entered a North Melbourne home—where she smoked marijuana while she left Wighard unattended in her car for up to six hours.

After leaving the North Melbourne residence, Hartman reportedly took her unresponsive son to Melbourne Fire Station 71 at around 1 p.m. on April 4. There, emergency crews determined he was suffering from a heat-related illness and rushed him to the hospital.

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WESH reported that Wighard was airlifted to an Orlando hospital, where he died two days later.

Citing police documents, Florida Today reported that Hartman admitted that the car engine was off when she left her son alone strapped in his car seat. WESH noted that the car was parked in the sun for those six hours Wighard was in the vehicle.

WKMG reported that Hartman initially told police that she and her son had gone to a grocery store and, while driving off, she heard a gurgling noise and witnessed him having a seizure. It wasn’t until police pressed her on the issue that she allegedly admitted to leaving her son attended in the vehicle.

Hartman was arrested earlier this week and charged with aggravated manslaughter by neglect, possession with intent to sell cocaine, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. On Wednesday, a judge ordered her to remain jailed without bond.

According to the data from the website No Heat Stroke, Wighart was the first of two children to die this year in a hot car. Last year, a total of 51 children died from vehicular heatstroke-related causes.