Baby dies after being left in car for hours
Friends of the policeman who reportedly left his one-year-old daughter in his car for more than eight hours on Monday while he was at work, are describing him as a good father and are asking persons not to judge him.
When the child was finally found outside the Black River Police Station where her dad is stationed, she was motionless and was later pronounced dead at hospital. According to the friend, the detective sergeant was not accustomed to taking his daughter to day care and surmised that it may have been work-related stress that contributed to his lapse.
"He would not have left her in the car purposely, he is too much of a good father to do that," said the friend yesterday. Both of the baby's parents are cops. According to persons close to the family, Monday was the baby's third day at day care as her grandmother who would usually take care of her is ill.
"I know people are going to say she is a child and how could he forget, but sometimes even your phone is in your hand and you are looking for it," said the friend. Several persons have visited the cops' home offering condolences and support. The couple have an older daughter together while the wife has a son from another relationship.
The friend said the policeman is so attentive to his children that he always supervised his older daughter's homework. Shericka Riley, the wife's hairdresser said that the death has sent her into depression.
"I get anxiety and even today at work everybody was just out of it, everybody is just really, really sad. If I feel the way I do, can you imagine how devastated they are?" she asked. Riley expressed disappointment with comments on social media.
"People are bashing him, but he is only human, stuff happens. We are quick to judge and we don't know who they are." She described the couple as humanitarians who are always taking care of other people's children. Meanwhile, child advocate Betty-Ann Blaine described the incident as bizarre.
"It is a very tragic and very disturbing case. It's especially as we are told that the father is a police officer and the car was parked all day at the police station where he works," she said.
"Children die in Jamaica in a variety of ways, but in my many decades in working as a child advocate, I have never heard of an incident like this one. Sometimes you hear these things happening in other countries but I have never heard of a case like this one happening in Jamaica," she said. "Police officers are trained to be sharp, to be alert and to be very thorough, and so the question is how did he forget his child in the car for an entire day. We expect that a complete and thorough investigation will be done so we can get all the answers to this very bizarre story."