A toddler found dead in a car last week in North Richland Hills may have died because she was left in the vehicle for a long time, police said Tuesday.
No criminal charges have been filed as police continue to investigate, North Richland Hills investigator Keith Bauman said Tuesday. Officials with Child Protective Services are also investigating.
Paramedics found Aurora Aryana Hollingsworth, 1, dead in a car on the afternoon of April 22 on Bursey Road. They were alerted after another child in the car told the driver that something was wrong with the toddler.
“It appears the child had been left in a vehicle for a prolonged period of time which is believed to have contributed to her death,” Bauman said in a news release.
He declined to say how long investigators believe the child was in the car.
The high at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on April 22 was 84. A child safety expert said temperatures inside a vehicle can increase by 20 degrees within minutes.
A ruling on the child’s death is awaiting toxicology, histology and chemistry tests and “could take a while,” said Linda Anderson of the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said in an email that the family has no history with the agency. Aurora had three older siblings, ages 6, 8 and 11, and they remain at home, Gonzales said.
Police responded to a 911 call and found the girl dead in a child restraint seat.
Bauman said that when the driver pulled over to check on Aurora, a passer-by saw the car and stopped to help. The child was unresponsive and 911 was called, police said.
Aurora was pronounced dead at 4:06 p.m. in the 7500 block of Bursey Road, according to the medical examiner’s website. A Texas Ranger who happened to be in the neighborhood responded to the scene and is assisting the investigation.
Bauman declined to identify the driver or the other child in the car, saying family members have cooperated with detectives.
“We’re still conducting interviews with witnesses,” he said.
The latest development came on the same day that Public Opinion Strategies of Washington, D.C., released a survey indicating that 14 percent of parents say that they have left a child alone inside a parked vehicle despite the risk of heatstroke. The company specializes in corporate and public policy research.
The survey results were based on 1,000 parents and caregivers who transport children ages 6 and under.
According to the survey, fathers were almost three times as likely as mothers to leave a child alone in a parked car.
“Many people are shocked to learn that the temperature inside of a car can rise up to 20 degrees in 10 minutes and cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Tragedies from heatstroke in cars happen far too often.”