dies after being left in car for hours, JPSO says
11-month-old girl died after her father left her in a car for multiple hours
Thursday, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.
Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato said the father, who hasn't been
identified, left the girl in the vehicle earlier in the day before returning
about 5:30 p.m. to find the child unconscious. The girl was taken to East
Jefferson General Hospital for treatment but pronounced dead.
are pending against the father, though what they will be hasn't been
finalized, Fortunato said.
Sheriff Joseph Lopinto, sworn in hours
earlier Thursday, is expected to discuss the case at a 7 p.m. news
conference. No other details were immediately available.
of cars can reach deadly temperatures within minutes on hot days, according
to experts. In the New Orleans area, the high temperature on Thursday was
Father of infant Metairie
girl who died after being left in car for hours is arrested on negligent
Sheng Li had loaded his 11-month-old
daughter into his car Thursday morning and meant to drop her off at daycare
— only he forgot and went straight to work instead, the Jefferson Parish
Sheriff's Office said.
Claire Li remained in the car while her
40-year-old dad worked; and it was after he returned to his home in Metairie
that her parents found her unresponsive in the vehicle, according to
sheriff's office spokesman Glen Boyd.
Deputies booked Sheng Li on a
count of negligent homicide after Claire was pronounced dead at a hospital
Thursday evening. The girl's autopsy hadn't been completed Friday morning,
but Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich on Friday said it is
expected the cause of her death will be ruled as heatstroke.
Sheriff's Office said the girl's parents — who primarily speak Mandarin
Chinese — turned to a neighbor in the 5000 block of Hastings Street after
finding out what had happened with Claire. The neighbor helped Claire's
parents bring her to East Jefferson General Hospital for treatment, but
attempts to revive her were unsuccessful, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff
Joseph Lopinto, who had been sworn in as Newell Normand's successor hours
Despite the subsequent arrest, Lopinto struck a
compassionate tone Thursday when discussing the Li family's case.
can't say this enough: Unfortunately, good parents with good intentions make
bad mistakes," Lopinto said during a news conference outside East Jefferson.
"No parent out there wants to lose their child. ... The parents are going to
struggle just like anyone else would struggle. The most we can do is try to
prevent the next one so we don't have this interview in the future."
The warmth inside of cars can spike to deadly temperatures within minutes on
hot days, according to experts. In the New Orleans area, the high
temperature on Thursday was 90, which could translate to a lethal interior
car temperature exceeding 155 degrees, said San Jose State University
research meteorologist Jan Null.
Before Thursday, 35 children had
died across the United States this year of what is known as vehicular
heatstroke — one had been in Louisiana, statistics showed.
Louisiana, a negligent homicide conviction in a case involving a victim
younger than 10 can carry between two and five years in prison.
Negligent homicide in Louisiana is defined as an unintentional yet illegal
killing resulting from a "disregard of the interest of others."