When officers found a 2-year-old boy left alone in a hot car with no air conditioning on Friday night, police say, the toddler soon started speaking.
Police say the boy — left alone in the vehicle for at least 45 minutes — told the officers that “mama went bye-bye,” according to 11Alive. His skin felt hot, police say, and the 2-year-old had been sweating inside the sweltering car when passersby noticed him in Newnan, Georgia.
It’s a risky situation: Over 36 children die every year in the U.S. from being left in a hot car, according to the organization Kids and Cars.
After police received a call about the boy, officers arrived and removed him from the parked car, which was left on, according to The Newnan Times-Herald. They put the toddler in a police cruiser that had running air condition and gave him a drink of water.
The boy’s mother, whom police identified as 22-year-old Tristen Formby, allegedly returned to the car about 15 minutes after police arrived, according to 11Alive. She was carrying a picture frame, police say, and said she thought the AC was left on as she spent time with some friends.
But, police say, the woman soon admitted to smoking marijuana inside the house after officers found a baggie of weed in her pocket, as reported by The Newnand Times-Herald. Charged with child cruelty and possession of marijuana, she faces a $7,500 bond.
The mom said she smokes “a lot” of marijuana, police say, and the boy is now in the custody of his father, according to 11Alive.
In June, Rhae Odum’s 7-month-old baby died after police say he was left in a hot car for over 20 hours in Kingsland, Georgia, according to FirstCoastNews. An arrest warrant affadavit said the mother has now admitted to taking a Xanax pill before leaving the boy.
And 64-year-old Janik Nix faces a charge of homicide by child abuse after police say she left 18-month-old Joe Avery James Lockaby, her grandson, in a hot car for at least four hours outside of her home in Greenville, South Carolina, according to The Associated Press.
Forty-three children died from heatstroke after being left in a hot car in 2017, according to data compiled by Kids and Cars. This year, that number is at 41 — with three more months to go.