Georgia baby dies after father is arrested while she's still INSIDE car, dad claims he warned police
An eight-month-old toddler was discovered dead in a heated vehicle, the toddler's father David Whatley, 20, was arrested by police in Snellville, Georgia on Tuesday, 3 May. Officials say Nova Whatley-Trejo died after being left inside his car for seven hours under temperatures as high as 86-degrees. This was following her dad's arrest when he was attempting to retrieve a pistol from the police station.
At 2.15 p.m., Whatley went to pick up a confiscated gun from police property custody but was detained when authorities discovered he had an outstanding probation charge, Snellville Police Detective Jeff Manley said during a news conference on Wednesday, 4 May. Before releasing the weapon, police conducted a background check, which is standard procedure to ensure that a gun is not released to someone who has committed a felony, and discovered that Whatley was wanted for a probation violation, according to Manley. He did not mention his daughter was in the car after his arrest, according to police. While Whatley was in police custody, Manley stated, he never addressed his daughter, Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo, who was locked up in the car parked outside. The city's peak temperature was 86 degrees on Tuesday, 3 May. After the arrest, he made a phone call, and the girl was located by her grandmother, Leticia Padilla, after 9 p.m. and transported to the hospital. Whatley said he told authorities his daughter was in the car, but cops rejected it after analyzing about 40 minutes of bodycam footage.
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The automobile was discovered parked near the dumpsters at Snellville City Hall by cops. Snellville Police Department Chief Jeff Manley told The SUN: “I’m absolutely astounded someone could leave an 8-month-old in the car, park away from our building and walk up her knowing that child was in the car.”
The child's Grandmother Padilla does not trust the police allegations. She told WSB-TV: “All they had to do was listen. They thought he was lying.”
She alleged: “They can say whatever they want to. They have to cover their tracks,” reported The Sun. On May 4, Whatley was apprehended and charged with second-degree murder. In Georgia, the charge signifies that someone has killed a child while committing second-degree cruelty to them, regardless of intent. It was created to address the issue of children dying in hot automobiles. The charge entails a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.
More than 900 children in the United States have died of heatstroke as a result of being stuck inside hot automobiles since 1998.
Anyone with information can submit tips online or by calling 1-800-597-TIPS.