Father arrested after child dies

November 18th, 2009 by

culfwww.jacksonville.com — Charges have been filed against a St. Augustine father nearly two weeks after he left his car for about five hours with his nearly 2-year-old daughter inside dying in the heat.

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on Friday arrested Omar Donte Long, 30, of the 300 block of Harvard Road. He is charged with negligent manslaughter and neglect of a child causing harm. He remained in jail Friday night on $500,000 bail.

Attempts to reach Long’s family for comment were not successful Friday.

On June 14, Long’s daughter, Arianna, was discovered locked inside his Dodge Charger in midday summer heat after Long returned from dropping his wife off at work at 6 a.m. at Flagler Hospital, the Sheriff’s Office said. But he said he didn’t realize she had put the child in the back seat and fell asleep on the couch when he got home.

Another family member woke up about noon and did not hear the toddler and became worried, the Sheriff’s Office report said. Montgomery saw Long sleeping on the couch and began to search the house for Arianna, but couldn’t find her. She soon found the child locked in the car with the engine still running. Long then woke up, retrieved the car keys and unlocked the car doors.

Arianna was blue in color and was not breathing, the report said.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said she died from exposure due to heat or hypothermia, but a final report is pending toxicology results.

Through interviews with witnesses, detectives obtained a warrant for Long on Friday morning. He turned himself in with his attorney present.

Kevin Kelshaw, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said parents need to know where their children are at all times. It sounds like common sense, he said, but a young child shouldn’t be left alone in a car for any amount of time, regardless of the weather.

The summer heat only makes it worse. On an 85-degree day, a car can heat up to 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in a half-hour.

A 2006 Florida statute makes it illegal for any child younger than 6 to be left in a car unattended for 15 minutes.

Another nearly 2-year-old child was found dead in a hot car in Jacksonville on Wednesday after a day care provider returned from a store but didn’t notice he was missing for two hours.

“It’s every officer’s worst nightmare to go on a scene like this and see something like this to happen to a child,” Kelshaw said. “There’s no reason for it to happen.”


One Response

  1. johnny d

    More research going on rite here!

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