ANDERSON, Ind. – Detectives with the Anderson Police Department are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 3-year-old girl who they say may have been inside a car for several hours.
Police say the girl, identified as Hannah Grace Miller, was found unresponsive inside a car in the 1900 block of West 10th Street Sunday evening. She had been inside the car for about two hours.
“But that’s something that we’re still looking into, that’s part of our investigation as well,” Anderson Police Department Major Joel Sandefur said.
Her father found her in the car and immediately started performing CPR. She was pronounced dead at St. Vincent Regional Hospital at 6:40 p.m. Sunday, according to the Madison County coroner.
The coroner says the child’s cause of death was acute heat exhaustion/overheating. No additional trauma was found and no foul play is suspected at this time.
Sandefur said they were still in the early stages of the investigation and are working to gain a clearer picture of what happened.
“Well we are investigating so we want to do a thorough investigation that’s fair and accurate, so at that point we’re just going to go into and let the evidence lead us and direct us in the direction that we need to go at this point,” said Sandefur.
No criminal charges have been filed. Sandefur said the parents have been cooperating with the investigation.
KidsAndCars.org says Indiana ranks in the top 30 states with the most child hot car deaths. Indiana has seen 11 such cases since 1997.
So far this year, eight hot car deaths have been reported with four others pending coroner confirmation, the group says.
“It’s sad when this happens so all we can do is push this awareness out there to make people stop and just think for a second to do things to remind them that the child’s in the backseat, car needs to be locked and take those safety precautions,” Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Michael Pruitt said.
First responders say one tip to prevent hot car deaths is putting things int he backseat of your car when you strap your child in.
“We just have to do things to remind us that the child is in the backseat. I mean that’s easy to say and some people can’t ever comprehend why it would even take someone to remind you to do that but it happens, we know it happens, statistics tell us that people are going to forget in this busy world,” Pruitt said.