A Georgia woman charged in the death of an 8-month-old child had been drinking before leaving the baby alone for hours in a hot vehicle, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said.
Latoya Louise Bell’s blood alcohol level was not released by the sheriff’s office, but Lt. Allan Rollins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that Bell was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, Bell left Ja’Karheyonna Houges-Double in the vehicle with the door open, went inside her home and fell asleep. Bell was Ja’Karheyonna’s cousin and godmother, according to the statement.
Ja’Karheyonna’s great-grandmother, who lives next door to Bell in the 3900 block of Old Waynesboro Road, found the baby strapped in a car seat in the vehicle and tried to revive her, according to The Augusta Chronicle. She took Ja’Karheyonna to University Hospital, where the baby was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m. Sunday.
According to warrants obtained by the Chronicle, Ja’Karheyonna had a body temperature of 108 degrees after being left unattended for an “unknown period of time.” She had severe burns from sun exposure, the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
Ja’Karheyonna was sent to the GBI Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Bell, 31, was booked into the Richmond County jail Monday on charges of murder and cruelty to children in the second degree.