Mom Arrested After Daughter Dies In Over-heated Car
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 8, 2002
ATLANTA, GEORGIA--Police have charged a mother with murder and cruelty to children following the death of her 3-year-old daughter with Down syndrome on Wednesday.
Ashante Burgess had been locked in a hot car for 90 minutes and had body temperature of 108 degrees when she arrived at a local hospital. She died shortly afterward, the Associate Press reported.
Police say her mother, Nakia Burgess, 28, left the girl strapped into her car seat with the windows rolled down a crack. But the temperature in Atlanta had climbed to 85 degrees by noon and the car was parked in the full sun. When Burgess checked on Ashante during a break from work, the girl was unconscious.
During a preliminary hearing Thursday, a lawyer for Burgess explained that Wednesday was her client's first day on a new temporary job as a transcriptionist and that Burgess kept the child in the car because she could not find child care. Attorney Phinia Aten said the woman had been scheduled to start the job on Monday but could not find a sitter. She was then given the ultimatum to show up on Wednesday or lose the job entirely.
Aten told the court that Burgess often had trouble keeping work, especially because many day-care providers refused to take children with disabilities.
Burgess wept during the hearing. She was placed on suicide watch at the county jail.
"She is extremely remorseful about what happened," Aten said. "At this point, her life has no meaning to her."