Toddler Left in Hot Car and Dies, Father Facing Charges


Florida father Troy Whitaker, 41, was arrested Friday after he left his toddler son in a hot, sweltering vehicle for eight hours. Whitaker was charged with aggravated manslaughter for his negligence.

Whitaker left his Palm Harbor house Friday morning to take his 5-year-old daughter to school. Accompanying him was also his nearly 2-year-old son, Lawson. However, after the drop off of his daughter, Whitaker completely forgot to drop his son off to daycare. The Hillsborough County firefighter went about his day tending to errands and other to-dos when he then arrived home later in the afternoon to see his son still in the truck. Approximately, the toddler was left in the car from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Whitaker attempted CPR, but to no avail. The toddler was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital, and was pronounced dead on arrival. “It was obvious that he had been dead for a while,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri informed reporters.

“It was evident that he didn’t realize that the child was in the backseat until he arrived home from Publix,” Gualtieri said. “He was taking the groceries out of the front passenger seat and immediately dropped the bags — there are groceries all over the driveway — and then went and took the child out of the car seat. As you can imagine, he was extremely upset — visibly upset.”


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