PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – A 34-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday, three months after her son died because she left him in her car in Pembroke Pines while she worked for more than eight hours, authorities said.
Emily Bird faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child. Her attorney, Lawrence Hashish, said the charge was a shock to Bird.
"Usually they'll charge parents that would willfully leave their child behind, but here it was a complete, tragic accident," Hashish said.
Police said the Fort Lauderdale woman told investigators that she thought she had dropped off her 17-month-old son, Eli Bird, at his day care July 13, but instead the boy remained in the car's back seat with the windows closed, which she discovered after driving to the day care center.
But police said Bird failed to call 911 and instead drove back to her job at a medical office, where a doctor called authorities.
Outside the car, temperatures reached 95 degrees that day in Pembroke Pines. When temperatures outside range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car parked in direct sunlight can quickly climb to between 130 and 172, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a report by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the family had been staying with friends while their house was being tented, and the boy's mother was under a lot of stress.
Bird told authorities that she took a different route to work the day of her son's death and "believed she dropped him off that morning," a police report stated. She said it was only after she learned her son never showed up for day care that she "began to realize what had occurred."