13-month-old Alabama boy dead after left in car overnight, into Saturday afternoon; mother charged

A 13-month-old baby is boy is dead after being left inside a locked car overnight Friday and into the afternoon hours on Saturday in north Alabama.

The boy’s mother, 36-year-old Elizabeth Anne Case, is charged with murder, according to Limestone County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Stephen Young. Case is being held without bond.

Deputies responded to the intersection of Highway 251 and Highway 31 Saturday afternoon where Athens Police and Athens Fire were on scene with a vehicle containing the child, his mother and grandmother.

Investigators determined, Young said, that the boy had been left inside a vehicle overnight Friday and well into Saturday on East Limestone Road, and that the mother and grandmother were attempting to transport the child to the hospital. The baby was transported to Athens-Limestone Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation showed that Case had left her residence on East Limestone Road between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. with her child buckled into a front-facing car seat and without strapping the seat to the vehicle. Case traveled to both Limestone and Madison counties where she was “dumpster diving” while the child was in the vehicle.

She returned home around 5:40 a.m. on Saturday and left the baby in the vehicle when she went inside the home and went to bed. Case awoke around 1:30 p.m. when the baby’s grandmother came to the residence to see him.

She woke Case up by banging on the door when she couldn’t find her grandchild. They searched for the baby and found him in the car, Young said.

Instead of seeking immediate medical help, Case took the child in the home and placed him in the shower. The grandmother called 911, loaded the child in the car with Case, and met Athens Police at the Recreation Center at Highway 251 and Highway 31. Investigators developed probable cause to arrest Case for murder and transported her to the Limestone County Jail.

Young said Case is a known drug user and was out of jail on bond for a first-degree robbery.

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The evidence will be sent to prosecutors for review and then presented to a grand jury for indictment consideration.

The boy is at least the 49th child to die in the U.S. this year after being left in a hot car, and third in Alabama in 2019.


“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.