Girl, 8, dies in hot car after mother reportedly left her while working

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By James Kay

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A woman has been charged after she reportedly left her eight-year-old daughter in a hot car while she went to work.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 26, around 6:30PM, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers responded to an emergency call in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Upon arrival, they found the child in critical condition, who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, per PEOPLE.

Following a thorough investigation by the department's Homicide Unit, it was determined that the child had been left in a vehicle under intense heat, resulting in a fatal medical emergency.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.36.19.jpgAshlee Stallings. Credit: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Ashlee Stallings has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse by willful act causing serious injury.

She has been transferred to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

"The investigation into this case is active and ongoing," stated the police department, urging anyone with information to come forward. "As additional information develops, it will be released by the CMPD’s Public Affairs Office."

According to the jail's website, Stallings was committed on Thursday, June 27, the day after her daughter died.

ABC News reported that temperatures in Charlotte had soared to the upper 90s on the day of the incident.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by ABC News, Stallings told police she left the girl in the car with the air conditioning on while she was at work, believing the child had turned the car off because she felt cold.

GettyImages-1294295944.jpegCars can heat up very quickly in the sun. Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty

The affidavit further revealed that Stallings returned to the vehicle about an hour and a half after her last communication with the child via text.

She found her daughter on the backseat floorboard, unresponsive and foaming at the mouth.

In a desperate attempt to save her, Stallings broke the car window with a hammer and tried to drive to a hospital but stopped at a business for help.

"She admitted she knew the temperature was 94 degrees outside and that she should not have left the victim inside the car alone," the affidavit read.

Hospital staff informed police that the girl suffered from brain herniation due to hyperthermia.

Stallings is currently held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 16.

GettyImages-1479130739.jpegThis is not an isolated incident. Credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 40 children die of heatstroke in the United States every year after being left or becoming trapped in a car.

Records show more than 950 children have died in hot cars over the past 25 years, with 56 cases in California alone.

Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, explained to NBC San Diego that forgetting a child in the backseat is easier than people might think, especially when rushing.

"We have a powerful brain-autopilot memory system that gets us to do things automatically, and in that process, we lose awareness of other things in our mind, including that there's a child in the car," he said.

Dr. Ben Hoffman, Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, offered advice to PEOPLE about how parents can avoid leaving their children in hot cars.

Dr. Hoffman emphasizes the importance of families staying mindful and present to prevent such tragedies. Here is a checklist for parents and caregivers to help keep children safe:


  1. Write a Checklist: Keep a sticky note on your windshield with your to-dos and cross items off as you complete them. For example: Put on seatbelt. Drive to daycare. Remove child from car. Check the backseat. Go to work.
  2. Place Essentials in the Backseat: Put something essential for your day, like your employee badge or purse, in the backseat. Ensure it is secured and out of the child’s reach.
  3. Avoid Distracted Driving: Avoid texting or scrolling while driving. Stay focused and mindful of the task.
  4. Set Recurring Alarms: Use your phone to set a recurring alarm as a reminder to take your child out of the car.
  5. Daycare Policies: Ask your daycare about their policy to call the family if a child does not show up by a certain time. An extended communication chain can provide a safety net.
  6. Be Alert to Routine Changes: Be extra alert when there is a change in routine, such as someone driving the child who usually doesn’t, an alternate route to childcare or work, or an appointment.
  7. Check the Backseat: Make it a habit to open the back door and check the back seat every time you park, no matter what.
  8. Never Leave a Child in the Car: Never leave a child in the car, not even for a minute.


Featured image credit: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Girl, 8, dies in hot car after mother reportedly left her while working

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

A woman has been charged after she reportedly left her eight-year-old daughter in a hot car while she went to work.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 26, around 6:30PM, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers responded to an emergency call in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Upon arrival, they found the child in critical condition, who was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, per PEOPLE.

Following a thorough investigation by the department's Homicide Unit, it was determined that the child had been left in a vehicle under intense heat, resulting in a fatal medical emergency.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 13.36.19.jpgAshlee Stallings. Credit: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

Ashlee Stallings has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse by willful act causing serious injury.

She has been transferred to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

"The investigation into this case is active and ongoing," stated the police department, urging anyone with information to come forward. "As additional information develops, it will be released by the CMPD’s Public Affairs Office."

According to the jail's website, Stallings was committed on Thursday, June 27, the day after her daughter died.

ABC News reported that temperatures in Charlotte had soared to the upper 90s on the day of the incident.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by ABC News, Stallings told police she left the girl in the car with the air conditioning on while she was at work, believing the child had turned the car off because she felt cold.

GettyImages-1294295944.jpegCars can heat up very quickly in the sun. Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty

The affidavit further revealed that Stallings returned to the vehicle about an hour and a half after her last communication with the child via text.

She found her daughter on the backseat floorboard, unresponsive and foaming at the mouth.

In a desperate attempt to save her, Stallings broke the car window with a hammer and tried to drive to a hospital but stopped at a business for help.

"She admitted she knew the temperature was 94 degrees outside and that she should not have left the victim inside the car alone," the affidavit read.

Hospital staff informed police that the girl suffered from brain herniation due to hyperthermia.

Stallings is currently held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on July 16.

GettyImages-1479130739.jpegThis is not an isolated incident. Credit: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 40 children die of heatstroke in the United States every year after being left or becoming trapped in a car.

Records show more than 950 children have died in hot cars over the past 25 years, with 56 cases in California alone.

Dr. David Diamond, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida, explained to NBC San Diego that forgetting a child in the backseat is easier than people might think, especially when rushing.

"We have a powerful brain-autopilot memory system that gets us to do things automatically, and in that process, we lose awareness of other things in our mind, including that there's a child in the car," he said.

Dr. Ben Hoffman, Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, offered advice to PEOPLE about how parents can avoid leaving their children in hot cars.

Dr. Hoffman emphasizes the importance of families staying mindful and present to prevent such tragedies. Here is a checklist for parents and caregivers to help keep children safe:


  1. Write a Checklist: Keep a sticky note on your windshield with your to-dos and cross items off as you complete them. For example: Put on seatbelt. Drive to daycare. Remove child from car. Check the backseat. Go to work.
  2. Place Essentials in the Backseat: Put something essential for your day, like your employee badge or purse, in the backseat. Ensure it is secured and out of the child’s reach.
  3. Avoid Distracted Driving: Avoid texting or scrolling while driving. Stay focused and mindful of the task.
  4. Set Recurring Alarms: Use your phone to set a recurring alarm as a reminder to take your child out of the car.
  5. Daycare Policies: Ask your daycare about their policy to call the family if a child does not show up by a certain time. An extended communication chain can provide a safety net.
  6. Be Alert to Routine Changes: Be extra alert when there is a change in routine, such as someone driving the child who usually doesn’t, an alternate route to childcare or work, or an appointment.
  7. Check the Backseat: Make it a habit to open the back door and check the back seat every time you park, no matter what.
  8. Never Leave a Child in the Car: Never leave a child in the car, not even for a minute.


Featured image credit: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office