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8-year-old girl dies after mom allegedly left her in car during high heat to go to work

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(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A North Carolina mother has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter after she allegedly left her 8-year-old daughter in a hot car while at work and the girl died, police said.


Officers responded Wednesday evening to reports of a child in critical condition inside a vehicle in Charlotte, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The child was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead early Thursday, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Her mother, 36-year-old Ashlee Stallings, allegedly left her daughter in the vehicle “in hot weather conditions” and the 8-year-old suffered a medical emergency, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a press release. Temperatures in Charlotte on Wednesday had reached the upper 90s.

Stallings allegedly told police she had left her daughter in her car while she was at work, running with the air on, but “believed the victim turned the car off because she was cold,” the arrest warrant affidavit stated.

When the mother returned to her vehicle about an hour and a half after last hearing from the girl via text, she found her daughter unresponsive on the backseat floorboard, taking shallow breaths and foaming at the mouth, according to the affidavit. Stallings used a hammer to break open the back window and then attempted to drive to a local hospital before stopping at a business for help, according to the affidavit.

“She admitted she knew the temperature was 94 degrees outside and that she should not have left the victim inside the car alone,” the affidavit stated.

Medical staff at the hospital told police the girl suffered brain herniation due to hyperthermia, according to the affidavit.

Stallings was arrested Thursday and charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse by willful act causing serious injury, online court records show.

Stallings was appointed a public defender during an initial court appearance on Thursday. Online court records do not list any attorney information.

She is being held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond, online jail records show. Her next court date has been scheduled for July 16.

The investigation remains ongoing, police said.

Amazon confirmed to ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC that Stallings worked at an Amazon facility and said it is “working closely” with police as they investigate.

“This is an incredibly tragic incident,” Amazon said in a statement to WSOC. “During this difficult time, we’re supporting our employees and have made counseling resources widely available.

The incident marked at least the fifth hot car death so far this year, according to the nonprofit Kids and Car Safety.

It takes very little time for a car to get too hot for children. A car can heat to 124 degrees in only 30 minutes when it’s 90 degrees outside, according to the National Weather Service.

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