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Lakewood NJ mom charged after 21 month old daughter left in hot car (2 hours) dies

Chaya Shurkin Lakewood NJ
Pictured, Chaya Shurkin Lakewood NJ mother
Chaya Shurkin Lakewood NJ
Pictured, Chaya Shurkin Lakewood NJ mother

Chaya Shurkin Lakewood NJ mother charged with child endangerment after leaving 21 month old baby daughter alone in hot car for two hours leading to her death.

New Jersey authorities have brought charges against a Lakewood mother whose infant daughter died after she was left alone inside a car on a warm day last month.

Chaya Shurkin, 25, was charged with second degree endangerment of the welfare of a child according to an announcement on Facebook by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Chaya A. Shurkin was charged June 5, according to court records.

If convicted, Shurkin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000.

On May 6, police responded to a report of a 21-month-old girl who was found unresponsive inside her family’s ‘hot car’ which was parked in the driveway of their home on Lewin Avenue in Lakewood.

When police arrived at the scene, they saw a neighbor attempting to perform CPR on the infant.

‘My wife was leaving to work and she walked out and she saw the mother crying holding the baby in her hands,’ the neighbor told WCBS-TV.

‘My wife walked in and said call Hatzolah’, which is the local EMS, the Jewish EMS.

‘I performed CPR for the first couple minutes until first responders arrived and then they came and took over.’

First responders rushed the girl to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, where she was pronounced dead soon afterward.

Lakewood NJ hot car baby death: ‘They’re loving parents, very devoted parents.’

A report via News12 New Jersey cited investigators saying that it wasn’t apparent why the child was left unattended, with authorities believing there may have been a miscommunication between the parents about who was going to take the child out of the vehicle.

‘A thorough and extensive investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in Shurkin’s motor vehicle for approximately two-and-one-half hours with the car turned off, in the heat,’ Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said.

Adding, ‘Shurkin was the child’s mother,’ 

‘The investigation determined that the act of leaving the child in the car unattended for such a long period of time was the cause and manner of the child’s death.’

A neighbor told WCBS-TV that Shurkin found her daughter unconscious just after 2pm on May 6.

The temperature in Lakewood, New Jersey on May 6 at around 2pm was 66 degrees Fahrenheit, according to AccuWeather.

While the outside temperature is relatively mild, the inside of a car can quickly warm up to 100 degrees within minutes. 

Infants are more susceptible to heat stroke than adults because their bodies have less effective thermoregulation.

‘It seems like wonderful parents,’ Lakewood Mayor Meir Lichtenstein said.

‘They have one other child that is approximately 4-and-a-half years old that is also a girl, and they are very saddened.

‘I was actually at the hospital and I saw the parents.

‘They’re extremely saddened by what happened.’

Lichtenstein said that despite the mild temperatures on that spring day, it was sunny with clear skies, which meant that the car’s interior heated up quite quickly.

‘It wasn’t all that warm but what happens is sometimes when the sun shines down on a car the inside of the car can… the temperatures can rise and, like I said, that’s probably exactly what law enforcement is trying to ascertain at this time,’ Lichtenstein said.

‘They’re loving parents, very devoted parents,’ the neighbor said.

‘It’s gonna take a while to make sense of it and make something out of this, but at this point the community will go forward and be together and strong.’