A Georgia father has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 8-month-old daughter after she was left in a hot car for hours while he was being arrested at a Snellville police station.
Police believe the baby, Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo, was in the car for over seven hours on Tuesday. The infant’s grandmother found the girl in the car around 10:00 PM Snellville Police Detective Jeff Manley said at a news conference the following day.
Authorities Say the Father Left His Daughter in the Hot Car While He Was Attempting to Retrieve a Seized Firearm.
Manley shared that the girl’s father, Davied Whatley, 20, arrived at the Snellville Police Department around 2:00 PM Tuesday to retrieve a gun that was seized in an unrelated incident.
Detective Manley claimed that Whatley made no mention of his daughter being in the car at the time of his arrest.
Firearms are not returned after seizure without authorities running a background check to make sure the individual is not a convicted felon, Manley said at the press conference. The background check for Whatley revealed that he had a warrant for a probation violation. He was arrested at the station.
Whatley was on video from the time he arrived at the police station to the moment he was transported and released to deputies at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, Manley explained. Whatley did not mention to the police that his daughter was in the hot car.
“He made no statements as to the fact that his daughter was left in the car two buildings away from the Snellville Police Department,” Manley said.
The detective told reporters that the baby was discovered after the grandmother “was alerted” by Whatley. By the time the grandmother found the baby, she had died. Manley did not elaborate on how Whatley was able to get in touch with the baby’s grandmother while Whatley was in custody.
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According to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached a high of 86 degrees Tuesday afternoon in the Atlanta area.
“I’m absolutely astounded that somebody would leave an 8-month-old in a car and park away from our building and walk up here knowing that child was in the car and leave them there. It’s astounding,” Manley remarked.
Whatley bonded out of jail Tuesday night on the warrant charge just to be re-arrested Wednesday on a charge of second-degree murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
What a horrible tragedy that could have easily been averted.
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