DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials are investigating after a child was found dead inside a car on Daniel Island on Friday afternoon.
Sgt. Anthony Gibson with the Charleston Police Department said officers responded to a call for service regarding a child in a locked vehicle in the parking lot at Bishop England High School.
The child was pronounced dead on scene by Berkeley County EMS.
Berkeley County Coroner Darnell Hartwell told Queen City New’s sister station News 2 that a staff member at Bishop England forgot her 16-month-old daughter was the in the back seat of her car. According to the coroner, the child was in the car from about 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. until around 4 p.m. when Charleston Police and Berkeley County EMS arrived on scene.
Hartwell said they were called after passersby saw the unresponsive child in her car seat before breaking the window to get to her. She was pronounced dead by Berkeley County EMS.
According to Hartwell, the child would have typically been taken to daycare. He guessed that temperatures probably reached triple digits inside the car. A blue vehicle in the parking lot was covered with a red tarp while first responders and investigators were on scene. It was eventually taken away on a tow truck.
Hartwell said it is still early in the investigation, and an autopsy will be performed at a later date to determine the official cause of death. So far, no one has been taken into custody.
“Sometimes we can get so busy and forget a lot of things. But again, just take your time, slow down and again it’s just a tragic accident. You know I can’t go back and second guess this mother, but again it’s just a tragic accident,” Hartwell told reporters on Friday.
The coroner said it is too soon to say if there will be any criminal charges.
The temperature in Charleston on Friday reached 93 degrees at its highest.
Charleston Police said the investigation is active.
Friday night’s football game between Bishop England and First Baptist has been canceled.
Bishop England President Patrick Finneran released the following statement.
“It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the tragic loss of an employee’s child. We ask that you please keep this family and our school community in your prayers during this unspeakably difficult time.
To help our BEHS community in processing this sadness, we will not have classes on Monday. Father Fryml will offer Mass on Monday morning in the gym at 8:15 for students, faculty and staff. Our parents are welcome and encouraged to attend as well. Adoration will follow in the Performing Arts Center as we seek God’s healing as a community. Your children are not required to attend on Monday if they prefer to spend that time with their family. We hope gathering in prayer on Monday will give our BEHS community the opportunity to come together as a family to grieve, pray, support and love each other.
We know this is an incredibly difficult time for us all, so we will have several local priests and counselors on campus beginning on Monday to assist your children throughout the week. If you feel your child needs additional support, please reach out to our Counseling Department.
As we mourn this loss, we share with you the below prayer to provide comfort in this difficult time.”