Toddler dies after being left in hot car outside church, police say

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. (WJXT) - Police in Florida are investigating the death of a 2-year-old girl who was left inside a hot vehicle in a church parking lot.

Police say the death happened around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday outside the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville Beach. The church is also home to a preschool during the day. Investigators said “heat was a factor” in the 2-year-old girl’s death.

Neighbors say most residents in the area have their children attend preschool at the church.

“It’s a shock to see this in our community,” resident Annette Evans said. “This is a church I’ve been to all my life, and I just can’t imagine something like that happening here.”

Amid the investigation, it wasn’t immediately clear if the incident was criminal or accidental.

No one was detained or arrested following the child’s death, and police say they have interviewed everyone involved.