MASON, Ohio - An autopsy is planned Thursday for a 15-month-old girl found dead in the back seat of her mother's car, which was in the employee parking lot of the Procter & Gamble Mason Business Center in Mason, Ohio.
“She was left unattended in the car by an employee who worked there,” Doyle Burke, Warren County Coroner’s Office investigator, said at an impromptu news conference outside the coroner’s office in Lebanon, Ohio, Wednesday.
According to the Journal-News, the child’s body has been taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, which is contracted to handle some death investigations for Warren County.
The mother is a P&G employee, Burke said, but he doesn't know what her job is. He also said he has had no contact with the woman, so he has no information as to her age, where the family lives or whether the baby had siblings. He said Mason police, who are conducting that part of the investigation, were interviewing the parents Wednesday night.
According to Mason police, officers and sheriff's deputies were called to the employee parking lot at 4:59 p.m. on a report of a medical emergency. The officers and Mason Emergency Medical Service were directed to a vehicle where the 15-month-old girl was deceased in a car seat.
Burke said it appears that the child may have been left in the car all day, “roughly 7:30, 8 a.m. until the dispatch at 5 p.m. The mother of the little girl called 911 upon the discovery.”
Burke said it was way too early in the investigation to reach any determination about why the child was left in the car.
Mason police will deal with that and other issues, he said, including whether there are surveillance cameras in the parking lot or whether P&G security officers make routine checks of vehicles.
“On appearances, certainly the child left in the car, even though it wasn’t sweltering hot today, it’s obviously going to be hotter in the car,” Burke said. “Certainly, a 15-month-old is more susceptible to something like this than an adult. So, that’s the theory we're working under.”
According to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, the temperature in the Warren County region was near 80 degrees.
Burke said he could not recall working a case in Warren County involving the death of a child in a hot car.
“It’s preventable,” he said. "It’s just tragic.”