Phoenix girl dead after left in hot car for hours - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Phoenix girl dead after left in hot car for hours

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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 9:45 am | Updated: 1:40 pm, Mon Jun 28, 2010.

A 21-month-old girl has died after being left for more than two hours inside a car in triple-digit heat, authorities said.

Phoenix police believe Zipporah Johnson was in the car's back seat and apparently was forgotten by her father when family members returned home from church services Sunday afternoon.

When family members discovered the girl around 5:30 p.m., they began first aid, said police spokesman Detective James Holmes. The girl was pronounced dead from heat-related causes at a hospital, he said.

"It was 108 degrees at 2:30 in the afternoon. For that car to reach even 140, 150 degrees only takes 30 minutes," Holmes said.

Her father has not been arrested, and no charges have been filed. Holmes, however, said police "found cause that negligence may be involved."

Jaime Brennan, a special assistant Maricopa County Attorney, said Phoenix police was still investigating the case and has not yet submitted it for review by prosecutors.

"We will take a look at everything that we have received from Phoenix PD. Evaluate the matter. And then make a recommendation as to charging," Brennan said.

Zipporah's death marks the first time this year that a child has been left in a hot car to die. Phoenix had no such deaths in 2009.

"The community is paying attention. They're listening," Holmes said.

San Francisco State University researchers said there have been 19 deaths this year from children being left in hot cars. Last year, at least 33 heat-related fatalities in the United States were due to hyperthermia after children were left in cars, trucks, vans and SUVs.

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