Toddler dies after being left in car outside school

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A one-year-old child died Tuesday after being left in a parked vehicle outside a south county school

According to Sgt. Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, officers were called to the Casa Dia Montessori School on Kinswood Lane around 6 p.m. for a report of an unresponsive child.

The child was rushed to a local hospital after being left in a car for extended period of time, McGuire said. The one-year-old was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

An autopsy has been scheduled for Tuesday, McGuire said. The child will be identified at a later time.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Dead child may have been left in van for extended period of time, St. Louis County police say

The director of a Montessori school in St. Louis County said a 1-year-old boy who died Monday was already unresponsive when he arrived at the school in his mother's van.

Donna Tilley, director of Casa Dia Montessori school, said that once the mother realized the boy was in her van and unresponsive, he was brought inside the school, where they called 911 and performed CPR to try to revive him.

The boy was taken to St. Anthony's Medical Center, where he died. The boy's name has not been released. The school says he was a student there. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

St. Louis County police are investigating the case. They say he may have been left inside a vehicle for "an extended period of time."

Tilley said the mother arrived at the school at 4:55 p.m. Monday.

Casa Dia Montessori school is at 610 Kinswood Lane in south St. Louis County, near Interstate 255 and Telegraph Road.

"The unresponsive 1-year-old male, who was possibly left in a vehicle for an extended period of time, was transported to a local hospital while life-saving efforts were attempted," St. Louis County police said in an email. "The 1-year-old male was pronounced deceased at the hospital."

Police confirmed that the vehicle involved was not a school vehicle. No other details were released.

Police haven't said how long the child may have been left in the vehicle or what the mother said to investigators.

Tilley told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that Rick Deeba, president of Casa Dia Montessori-Kinswood, released the following statement:

"At 4:55pm, 9/11/17, a mother arrived at Casa Dia Montessori-Kinswood with an unresponsive child in her van. Once the mother realized he was unresponsive in her van, the student was brought into the building. 911 was called and CPR was administered to try to revive the child. The child was then transported by ambulance to St. Anthony’s Hospital.

"All of our hearts are so saddened by this tragedy," Deeba's statement said. "And we grieve with this family at the terrible accidental loss of this child. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

Tilley cried as she read the statement over the phone to the Post-Dispatch.

Deeba told the Post-Dispatch that surveillance cameras are mounted inside and outside the school. He is certain of the 4:55 time because that is when the computers clocked the mother's check-in, Deeba said.

Detectives in the St. Louis County Police Department's Bureau of Crimes Against Persons are handling the investigation. The medical examiner performing the autopsy should be able to determine if the child's death was heat-related, officials said.

The high temperature for St. Louis on Monday was 79 degrees at 2:19 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. While that temperature doesn't seem extreme, the heat inside a car can rise rapidly.

The circumstances of the child's Monday death aren't clear. But at 80 degrees parked in the sun, the average temperature inside a car is 19 degrees higher than the outside air temperature after 10 minutes, according to Jan Null, adjunct professor of meteorology at San Jose State University. After another 10 minutes, it goes up 10 more degrees. After an hour it would be up 43 degrees, to 123 degrees.