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8-month-old baby dies after being left in car while father was arrested

How can a parent forget a child in the car?
How can a parent forget a child in the car? A psychologist explains 04:28

An 8-month-old baby has died after her father left her in his car while he was getting arrested, according to the Snellville Police Department in Georgia.

On Tuesday, 20-year-old Davied Japez McCorry Whatley arrived at the lobby of the police station around 2:17 p.m., the police department said in a press release. He was meeting with the property custodian, but police found a probation violation warrant for his arrest. 

He was taken into custody there and transported to Gwinnett County Jail without incident.  

Nearly seven hours later, at 9 p.m., an 8-month-old was brought to Piedmont Eastside Emergency Room. Her grandmother, who brought her to the hospital, indicated she was left in a car after a traffic stop. The hospital staff determined the baby was dead. 

She was Whatley's daughter.

A Snellville Police Sergeant, who was working off-duty at the hospital, was told by staff. 

Police found Whatley's 2007 Mazda 3 in the parking lot of Snellville City Hall, which is near the police station. 

Whatley's entire interaction at the police station – from entering the lobby to going to the county jail – was recorded on body camera, police said. He never mentioned that his infant daughter was in his vehicle. 

The Snellville Police Department has requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigations take over as the primary investigating agency for this case. CBS News has reached out to the bureau for more information and is awaiting response. The child's cause of death was not released. 

In 2021, 23 children died in a hot car and on average, 38 children under the age of 15 die each year from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle, according to the National Safety Council.

Since 1990, at least 60% of the hot car deaths were children unintentionally left behind, CBS News' Kris Van Cleave reports. Some car companies have rolled out sensors that alert car owners if they lock the car and walk away without checking the back seat. Automakers agreed to make some sort of back seat alert standard in cars by 2025. 

Experts say keeping something, like a kid's toy, in the front of the car might help parents remember their children are in the back seat. Or, leaving an item the driver needs – like a purse or briefcase – in the backseat. 

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