Kathreen Adams and Christopher McLean leave 2 year old daughter in hot car for 15 hours to die after meth bender at Prosperity, Florida residence.
A drug addled Florida couple have been arrested after leaving their two year old daughter in a hot car overnight only to die as temperatures sweltered.
Kathreen Adams, 23, and Christopher McLean, 32, were arrested and charged with child neglect and possession of methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.
Additional charges were expected, Holmes County Sheriff John Tate said at a news conference Wednesday.
Florida cops met by parent carrying unresponsive 2 year old child
The parents reportedly decided to let the child sleep in the car after a late night drive but forgot to retrieve her until the next afternoon after temperatures peaked. No less than 15 hours had passed before the girl’s parents sought to retrieve the two year old toddler. But by then something was horribly amiss. Could the girl’s life still be saved?
Deputies responded to a home in the Florida Panhandle neighborhood of Prosperity around 3.45pm on Tuesday, May 16 after an inconsolable woman called 911.
Tate said the emergency operator was unable to get the necessary information from the woman because she was screaming so much.
The responding deputy was met at the house by a person carrying the unresponsive child.
The officer immediately began to administer CPR until emergency services arrived but the child was pronounced dead shortly after their arrival.
Adams initially told authorities she found her daughter inside the home unresponsive.
The responding deputy immediately knew her story implausible as the child’s temperature was 107 degrees.
Dead girl’s father was uncooperative
During their investigation, authorities learned the girl had been left in the car for about 14 hours.
Adams eventually admitted to deputies that she had left work about midnight and went to a relative’s houses to fetch her two- and four-year-old children.
The couple then drove the children home, said the sheriff.
‘The baby was asleep in the car seat. They decided to leave the child in the car and went inside and ultimately fell asleep and did not wake up or did not realize that the child was in the car until around 3:41 that afternoon,’ he said.
He added Adams ‘purposely, through her own statement, purposely left the child in the car throughout the night.’
McLean was uncooperative, invoked his right ‘and did not wish to give us a statement or talk to us at that time,’ said Tate.
It remains unclear precisely what time the couple actually discovered their daughter inside the car and when 911 was subsequently called.
Adams also told law enforcement that the four-year-old got out the car and made his way into the house.
‘We do not have any evidence of whether he was in the car or in the house. That’s still something we’re trying to find out,’ said the sheriff.
The four-year-old has since been placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
A resulting search of the couple’s home found methamphetamine, marijuana, CBD gummies and drug paraphernalia, the sheriff’s office told reporters.
Adams confirmed to authorities that she and McLean had smoked marijuana after they entered the house.
Fourth child to die after being left in a hot car in 2023
The sheriff said his message to the community was: ‘Don’t do drugs. I honestly believe methamphetamine, drugs is the culprit behind this death.’
‘That’s what happens when you use drugs, you lose sense of what’s going on in reality and this kind of stuff happens. Probably if they wasn’t on drugs, we probably wouldn’t be here today,’ the official added.
The 2 year old girl is the fourth child to die after being left in a hot car in 2023, according to Kids and Car Safety, a group dedicated to educating the public about this issue and providing resources for parents.
The other deaths occurred in Spring Valley, New York, May 9; Port St. Lucie, Florida, March 6; and Atmore, Alabama, Feb. 27, according to Kids and Car Safety.