DeKalb County police say a 25-year-old mother was getting her hair done for six hours as her baby slowly died in a hot car.
Dijanelle Fowler is charged with second degree murder, child cruelty and concealing the June 15 death of Skylar Fowler, 1, according to warrants obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The child was found dead in an Emory University Hospital parking deck when the mother went there and dialed 911.
Police said they don’t believe Fowler intended to harm the child. She left the air conditioning running, but when she finally emerged the car had shut off, according to DeKalb police.
The warrants suggest the case against Fowler was partly built by security camera footage.
Fowler had a hair appointment in the Northlake Tower Festival Shopping Center in the Tucker area at 10 a.m. Footage shows her enter at 10:06 a.m. and later emerge at 4 p.m., the warrants say.
Witnesses confirmed she never left the salon.
In the parking lot, Fowler couldn’t start the car and got a man at the hair dresser’s to assist.
The good Samaritan didn’t see the baby because, police believe, Fowler covered her up with clothes that were in the car or hid her in some other way.
“Between 4 and 4:54 (p.m.) she texted the child’s godfather that she was going to go to an urgent care for headaches,” a detective wrote. “(Fowler) also Googled about signs of seizures.”
She arrived at Emory at 4:54 p.m., soon dialing 911.
Police allege Fowler didn’t mention the child and instead said that she herself was “having a seizure of some kind.”
When officers arrived, Skylar was unresponsive in the back seat.
The medical examiner’s office believes she had been dead for “some period of time,” the detective wrote.
The obituary listed her as a Charleston, South Carolina, resident.
Skylar leaves “precious memories” to her parents, Louis R. Williams, II, and Fowler, it said.
The mother, who was treated and released from the hospital after her daughter’s death, was arrested Monday night. She has no bond.
The case is sure to bring to mind that of Cooper Harris, who died on June 18, 2014, nearly three years to the day from Skylar, in a hot car in Cobb County. Father Justin Ross Harris was convicted of murder after a sensational trial detailing his sordid sexual exploits and what prosecutors called his desire for a child-free life.
In that case, the jury found malice. In Fowler’s police have only charged her with second degree murder, which doesn’t require malice.
For more on the case, read here.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.