Home / National News / Toddler dies after being left in hot car in Florida, police say


(BRANDON, Fla.) — A toddler died in Florida on Tuesday after being left inside a hot car for five hours, authorities said.

The two-year-old boy, identified as Jacob Manchego, was found unresponsive in a locked SUV at a shopping plaza in Brandon. He was rushed to a local hospital where he later died, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said Jacob’s half-sister, 21-year-old Fiorella Vanessa Silva-Tello, left the child in the vehicle.

Silva-Tello arrived for work at Best Friends for Kidz, a Christian-based childcare and learning center located in the shopping plaza, on Tuesday at around 9:30 a.m. with Jacob in the car, according to the sheriff’s office, which also noted that she went into work and left the little boy unattended in the vehicle.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. local time, Silva-Tello returned to the car, where she found Jacob unconscious, according to the sheriff’s office. She carried him to a dialysis center in the shopping plaza where first aid was administered. The Hillsborough County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and transported the child to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said.

No charges have been filed pending further investigation and review by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.

Meteorologists with ABC’s local affiliate WFTS said the temperature pushed 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Brandon on Tuesday.

Best Friends for Kidz released a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, confirming Jacob’s death.

“Today, a sweet little boy passed away. He had a remarkable laugh, he was full of energy and he loved to give hugs,” the statement said. “His name was Jacob and he was two years old. Jacob died in a vehicle where he was forgotten in. From what we know, the cause was heat exhaustion.”

In the statement, Best Friends for Kidz said it will cooperate with investigators. The local business said Jacob was not in their care at the time of his death and his half-sister “made a tragic mistake.”

“We are keeping Jacob’s family in our prayers. For reasons unknown at this time his sister made a tragic mistake. We feel confident in this statement as an intentional act of cruelty would not be within her means,” the statement said. “Jacob was not in our care on this day so there is nothing we could change to fix this tragedy.”

Best Friends for Kidz said it is collecting cards and donations for Jacob’s family to help with the funeral expenses as well as to “help keep his family going while they try to piece their lives back together.”

The investigation into Jacob’s death is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said. Detectives are currently interviewing Jacob’s half-sister and any other potential witnesses along with gathering any physical evidence. Investigators will also be reviewing Jacob’s prior history, including any calls for service at the residence in Brandon where the child lived.

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