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By Rampart Stonebridge, updated on July 23, 2023

Florida babysitter arrested after leaving baby in hot car

In a heart-wrenching incident that has left a Florida community in shock, a babysitter has been arrested following the death of a 10-month-old infant who was tragically left in a hot car for an extended period.

The Baker County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the arrest of Rhonda Jewell, a 46-year-old woman who was responsible for the care of the deceased infant at the time of the incident. Jewell is now facing serious charges, specifically aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Despite the gravity of the charges, she has managed to secure release through bond, as reported by First Coast News.

The series of unfortunate events began to unfold on a Wednesday when the mother of the baby girl, whose identity has been withheld for privacy reasons, made a distressing call to the police. She reported that her child was unresponsive and had turned blue when she arrived to pick her up around 1 p.m., as stated in the incident report.

Emergency response and the desperate bid to save the infant

Upon receiving the distress call, deputies were dispatched to a residence located on Estate Street in Macclenny, Florida. They discovered the infant in the garage, lying on the seat of a golf cart. Without losing a moment, they initiated life-saving measures in a desperate bid to revive the child.

First responders were quick to arrive at the scene and immediately transported the child to a local hospital. Despite their relentless efforts, the baby was later pronounced dead. Deputies reported to the first responders that the infant's skin was alarmingly hot, indicating severe heat exposure.

According to the sheriff's office report, there was sufficient probable cause to believe that the temperature inside the vehicle had soared to over 133 degrees, and the baby had been subjected to this extreme heat for a minimum of five hours.

Chilling details emerge as investigation progresses

Medical personnel at the hospital provided further chilling details. They reported that the baby's external temperature was recorded at 102.1 degrees, while her internal body temperature had skyrocketed to a lethal 110 degrees. Hospital staff informed the police that their thermometers could not register a temperature higher than 110 degrees, suggesting the possibility that the infant's internal temperature could have been even higher.

On the day of the incident, Jewell was entrusted with the care of the child along with three other children. The report states that Jewell had picked up the child at 8 a.m. and driven to the Estate Street residence where she was scheduled to babysit the four children.

Disturbingly, the report suggests that Jewell forgot about the baby in the vehicle while she was engaged with the other children. The baby was not discovered until 1:12 p.m. Jewell had been providing intermittent care for the 10-month-old girl since June.

A Ccmmunity in mourning: Repercussions of the tragedy

Jewell made her initial court appearance the morning after the incident. Her bond was set at $25,000, and she was mandated to wear a GPS ankle monitor upon her release as a condition of her bond.

In the aftermath of this tragic incident, Sheriff Scott Rhoden issued a heartfelt statement on the sheriff's office Facebook page, appealing for respect for the victim's family and calling for community solidarity. He wrote:

"I am asking my community to respect the privacy of the victim’s family and to please join me in prayer for the family and everyone involved. Each of us are given the gift of life every morning we wake up and every evening when we finish our day, we are blessed if our family is safe and healthy. In the blink of an eye, our world can be turned upside down. Please be mindful of this when trying to understand the tragedy that took place in our small town yesterday."

This devastating incident has sent shockwaves through the community, leaving residents grappling with the harsh reality of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles, especially during the scorching summer months.

A recap of the heartbreaking incident

  • A 10-month-old baby girl tragically lost her life after being left in a hot car in Baker County, Florida.
  • The child's babysitter, Rhonda Jewell, was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child.
  • Medical reports revealed that the baby's external temperature was 102.1 degrees, and her internal temperature had reached a lethal 110 degrees.
  • Jewell allegedly forgot about the baby in the car for at least five hours while she was preoccupied with other children she was babysitting.
  • Jewell's bond was set at $25,000, and she was required to wear a GPS ankle monitor upon her release.

We urge you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness about the potentially fatal consequences of leaving children unattended in vehicles, particularly during the hot summer months.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.

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