Police have arrested the mother of an 11-month-old girl who died after they said she was left in a car for three hours while her mother officiated a Florida church service.
Police in Palm Bay responded Sunday around 1 p.m. to a report of an unresponsive infant in a vehicle at Mount of Olives Evangelical Church.
When they arrived, they learned the infant had been left in the vehicle for approximately three hours while the mother and her family attended services, the Palm Bay Police Department said.
"The initial investigation revealed that the mother arrived late to a church service she was officiating and believed the victim was brought inside by a member of the church," the police department said in a statement Thursday night. "Approximately three hours later, after service concluded, the mother noticed her child was not inside or with any church member and immediately responded to her vehicle where her child was found still in the car seat and unresponsive."
The infant was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead, police said. A police department spokesperson said Friday they have not yet received the medical examiner's final report for the official cause of death.
The girl's 37-year-old mother, identified as Bulaine Molme, was arrested Thursday and is being charged with one count of aggravated manslaughter of a child, police said.
Calls to Mount of Olives Evangelical Church were not answered.
"This is an unfortunate incident, and our condolences and prayers go out to the family," Palm Bay Police Chief Mario Augello said in a statement.
Palm Bay is located about 75 miles southeast of Orlando. The temperature in the city around midday Sunday was in the high 70s.
The temperature inside a car can exceed 115 degrees when the outside temperature is just 70 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2022, 33 children died of heatstroke in vehicles, according to the NHTSA.