Who is Juana Perez-Domingo? 2-yr-old girl dies after being left in hot car for 7 hours
MIAMI, FLORIDA: A Florida woman has been charged with the death of a 2-year-old girl she left in a hot car for hours after forgetting to bring her to daycare, authorities say. Juana Perez-Domingo, 43, was being paid $40 a week to take the kid to daycare when she allegedly forgot Jocelyn Maritza Mendez, 2, in the vehicle for seven hours on Friday, July 16, when temperatures hit 96 degrees.
The police have said that Perez-Domingo, who is not a licensed driver, was supposed to drop off the kid at daycare in Homestead that morning. But Perez-Domingo took Jocelyn to her home first since the childcare center was not open yet after having picked up the girl that morning just at 6.30 am. Perez-Domingo has stated that she then "got distracted" and went inside her home, only returning to the van seven hours later. Upon discovery, Méndez was transported by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to Baptist Hospital in Homestead where she was pronounced dead by medical staff. Bond was set at $50,000, and no attorney was listed for her.
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We have reported many similar incidents in the past. Earlier this year, we reported that a Texas woman and her 8-year-old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning as they left the car running in the garage to keep warm. We also reported the death of a Florida girl, 1, who died in a hot car after her 'busy' father forgot she was inside and took another car to work and Ashley Howard's case. According to kidsandcars.org, 26 children in the United States have died after being left inside of a hot car in 2021. In 2019, there were 53 hot car fatalities.
When Perez-Domingo returned, instead of calling 911, she brought Jocelyn to her mother’s house, authorities said. The young girl had already died by then from what authorities believe was a heat-related illness. Perez-Domingo was then arrested on Saturday, July 16, on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, the station said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine Mendez's official cause of death, police said. Perez-Domingo also allegedly placed the girl in a seat belt instead of a car seat.
The child's mother has said that she got off work at 3 pm and called Perez-Domingo twice before she finally picked up the phone to tell her the tragic news. "She killed my girl," said Joselyn's mother. "I don't know what to do."