Woman charged with manslaughter after she left her boyfriend's 4-year-old son in hot SUV for six hours
A woman from Florida has been charged in the death of her boyfriend's 4-year-old son, whom she left inside a hot SUV for more than six hours.
Reports said 27-year-old Mariah Butler from Orlando was arrested on March 19 and charged with aggravated manslaughter and child neglect in the death of Logan Starling.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office has said that Logan was one of five children who Butler had taken to the Elite Preparatory Academy, where she worked as an administrative assistant, in September last year.
Four of the children had gotten out of the SUV with Butler and entered the school by 8:20 am, but little Sterling was left behind in the car. Investigators also said that Butler didn't realize that she had left the toddler in the car until the child's teacher asked her at the end of the school day why Logan had been absent from school, the Daily Mail reported.
Butler initially thought the teacher was joking but then realized she was serious. She grabbed her keys and ran to the SUV where a witness said that she opened the door and saw Logan slumped over against one of the windows with his eyes closed.
The frantic woman immediately closed the door and then ran back into the school yelling for someone to call 911.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Butler was heard saying in surveillance footage: "Logan's in the car! He's unconscious. Please go to the car. Please go to the car!"
The director of the school, Albert Steele, ran into the parking lot and grabbed the toddler from inside the car. Logan had blood coming out of his nose and was stiff to the touch. Steele took the child across the street to the fire station but it was too late, and Logan was later pronounced dead.
The authorities said that it had been 94 degrees in Orlando on the day Logan died and that the temperature inside the SUV was estimated to have been around 121 degrees.
WFTV reported that Butler's co-workers said she was a loving stepmother to the toddler and had to quit her job with the school not too long after the boy died because she started receiving death threats from the public via phone, email and social media.
Butler was released from prison on March 20 on a $15,150 bond. However, Logan's family believes that the bond was set too low after they waited six months for the charges to be brought.
The toddler's great-grandfather, Roy Werner, told the channel: "Six months of no punishment for Mariah seemed like six years. But six months of Logan being gone seems like six days."