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Mother charged in death of toddler left in hot car after ‘miscommunication’

Posted at 8:53 PM, Jun 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 20:53:51-04

LAKEWOOD, N.J. – A 25-year-old mother in New Jersey is facing criminal charges over the death of her toddler daughter in a hot car last month.

Prosecutors say Lakewood resident Chaya Shurkin has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reports the Asbury Park Press.

Officers responding to a report of a child in distress at Shurkin’s residence on May 6 found a neighbor performing CPR on the 21-month-old, who died at a hospital later that day, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.

“A thorough and extensive investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in Shurkin’s motor vehicle for approximately two-and-one-half hours with the car turned off, in the heat,” he said.

Temperatures in the area reached 71 degrees that day.

Related: Missouri toddler dies after being left in hot car for 15 hours, police say 

“The investigation determined that the act of leaving the child in the car unattended for such a long period of time was the cause and manner of the child’s death,” the prosecutor said.

A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 that Shurkin brought the girl home after she was taken to daycare but refused to go inside, and “there was a miscommunication about whether the toddler’s mother or father would bring the toddler in from the car.”

ABC7 reports that a record 52 children died in hot cars in the US last year, according to the KidsAndCars.org nonprofit. (In Florida, an alert passerby spotted an 8-month-old who had been left in a hot car.)

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