Arkansas girl, 3, died inside hot car while 1-year-old sister left in critical condition as mom slept at home
Booneville police received a 911 call at around 2 pm from the young mother, 21-year-old Kaylee Petchenik, saying that her two daughters were missing
BOONEVILLE, ARKANSAS: A three-year-old Arkansas girl died on Monday, July 20, and her one-year-old sister was left in a critical condition after the duo was found in the back of their mother's hot car while she was taking a nap inside their house. A statement was released by the Arkansas State Police on Tuesday, July 21, stating that Booneville police received a 911 call at around 2 PM from the children's mother, 21-year-old Kaylee Petchenik, saying that her two daughters were missing.
Petchnick reportedly told officials that she discovered that her children had disappeared when she woke up from an afternoon nap. Reports state that an officer was sent to the family's home in the 480 block of West 5th Street and found both the girls, 3-year-old Laykn and 15-month-old Olivia, lying on the back floorboard of their mother's car. Both were found unconscious at the time.
The three-year-old was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy is set to be performed to determine the toddler's cause and manner of death. Olivia was also taken to a hospital in Little Rock, where she is believed to be in a stable but critical condition. State Police, in a statement, said: "Both are the apparent victims of heat."
Meanwhile, Petchnick's neighbor, while talking to 5News, said that the young mother had come to their house to ask if they had seen her children shortly after she found that they were missing. "I was sitting out of my porch around 11 o’clock and my neighbor Kaylee, the mom has come outside and looked concerned and worried and she came up to and asked if I had seen her kids," neighbor Matthew Wood told the outlet. He added that Petchenik, who works night shifts, had claimed that she had locked her door before she went to sleep.
"The mother works night shifts. She was asleep, she had laid down for a nap. She said she had locked her doors and when she woke up the door was open and the kids were gone," Wood continued. Reports state that the neighbor was with the officer when the little girls were found. He said that he "froze up at the sight" when he saw the children lying unconscious.
"I was standing next to him when we looked down and saw them in the car, but I kind of froze up at the sight, I’m not going to lie," Wood said. "He opened the door, screamed for EMS, and grabbed both of them, and rushed them to the hospital. The little girl who has passed, Laykyn, she was just limp when he picked her up and lifeless. I was just sick when I saw her and I had to sit down. Knowing that little girl only got 3 years of life and the only thing I can do now pray that the youngest one makes it out fine," he said. Temperatures in Booneville, on Monday, soared into the high 90s around midday.
Family and friends set up a GoFundMe page to cover Lakyn's funeral expenses, which had raised over $3,000 as of Wednesday night.