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Texas mom arrested after death of baby who was left in back of hot SUV


Police arrested the mother of a 15-month-old baby who died in the back seat of a hot SUV in Corpus Christi, Texas.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Police arrested the mother of a 15-month-old baby who died after being left in the back seat of a hot SUV on Wednesday afternoon.

Concepcion Rodriguez, 26, is charged with injury to a child after officers say she left the baby in the vehicle for nearly three hours after returning from a trip to a store, according to a statement from local police.

Neighbors say the child's name was Benny Jr.

Cornelio Reyna, a family friend, said, "He was a very happy little kid. He was always around with mommy and daddy and they always played around with him and stuff."

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Police say the mother returned from the store at 1 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET) with her own children and others in her care. In total there were seven children in the SUV aged between three and seven.

Six children left the vehicle.

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Detectives say when the father got home just before 4 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) he asked about the child – and that when the parents realized he was still in the SUV.

Temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees outside, so inside the vehicle it was much hotter.

"I don't know how something like this could've happened, I really don't know," Reyna added.

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Neighbors said they would see the boy playing outside with his siblings.

Neighbor Melinda Moore said, "It's terrible. I just can't imagine that we're hearing this all the time and to have it just three houses down the street, I don't understand how it happens."

The Corpus Christi police statement added:

Police are carefully investigating this event to evaluate if criminal charges are appropriate.  Child Protective Services are evaluating the circumstances to determine the appropriate placement of the other children.

Corpus Christi Police urge parents and child caregivers to prevent hyperthermia in a few ways to avoid heat related injuries or death. Never leave a child alone in a vehicle and consistently leave all unattended vehicles locked. Create reminders and habits such as leave a purse, cell phone, or item you need at your next stop near the child. 

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