A woman has been accused of intentionally leaving her 6-month-old son in a hot car to die in Tennessee over a year ago, and is now facing multiple charges.
Chantae Armstrong could be charged with first-degree murder, felony murder as well as aggravated child neglect charges, which reflect the death of her infant son, Jovany Morales.
Authorities allege that Armstrong, who is also known as Chantae Cabrera, purposely left the baby in the backseat of a car that was parked outside her work in West Knoxville on August 9, 2019.
According to weather data, temperatures reached the mid-90s that day.
Armstrong allegedly told police she thought she had dropped the child off at daycare before heading to her job. Armstrong revealed to police she drove to a grocery store after work, and, as she was looking over her list in the car, noticed her son’s feet behind her.
Allegedly she told police she forgot the boy was back there, and how his death was the result of a tragic accident.
Jovany died of hypothermia. Doctors said his skin showed signs of blistering.
Based on records from Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services, it was also revealed that after the baby’s birth, Armstrong was diagnosed with postpartum depression.
She was prescribed two medications — later revealing how she had stopped taking one of them just before the deadly incident.
In the DCS documents, Armstrong is also alleged to have sent text messages to the child’s father in the months prior to his death. In them, officials alleged she threatened to kill him, the child and herself “because she couldn’t handle it anymore,” according to WBIR-TV.
According to the documents, the messages “showed a threat[t] (sic) of killing the minor child when he was around one month until his death. Mr. (redacted) reported that the text messages were between Ms. (redacted) and the child’s father, (redacted) Ms (redacted) messages were disturbing talking about killing the child because she couldn’t handle it anymore, she made threats to kill Mr. (redacted), the child and herself.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.