Virginia Caregiver Charged With Child Neglect and Animal Cruelty After Leaving 11-Month-Old Baby and Dog in Hot Car

A 40-year-old Virginia caregiver was arrested on Tuesday (September 12) after leaving an 11-month-old baby and a dog in a hot car with a heat index of at least 100 degrees for roughly six hours. The caregiver was then charged with one felony count of child neglect and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. 

The caregiver was identified as Kristen D. Graham, 40, and the 11-month-old child was identified as Myrical Wicker (b. October 19, 2022). An investigation by the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office determined that Graham was caring for the child and the dog, both of whom belonged to 17-year-old Arianna Wicker

We are saddened to share the news of the death of an eleven-month-old child.The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting a thorough investigation into this case and we are awaiting results from the Medical Examiner’s Office as to the cause of death.Caregiver, Kristen Danielle Graham, a 40-year-old Seaford resident, was arrested last night, September 12, 2023, on 1 Felony count of Child Neglect and 1 misdemeanor count of Animal Cruelty.We will keep you updated with any further information as it becomes available.

Posted by York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, September 13, 2023

According to the investigation, Graham had received a phone call at around 1:00 a.m. from a friend who was caring for an elderly person. The friend asked Graham to bring her some cigarettes because she couldn’t leave the elderly person alone. Graham obliged and brought the 11-month-old and dog with her. 

RELATED: 46-Year-Old Babysitter Arrested in Baker County for Aggravated Manslaughter After 10-Month-Old Infant Dies in Hot Car

Kristen Graham stopped at a 7-Eleven and bought some cigarettes and a bottle of apple juice before heading to her friend’s house. She was gone for nearly seven hours and didn’t return to her Virginia residence until around 8:00 a.m. – at this point, both the dog and 11-month-old child were reportedly still alive. 

Upon arriving at her residence, Graham rolled the windows up to her car and headed inside – leaving the dog and 11-month-old child in the vehicle. She fell asleep for several hours and didn’t wake up until around 2:30 p.m., when she was awoken by a phone call. At that point, she decided to check on the child. 

But t was too late – Myrical Wicker had died in the vehicle at some point that morning/afternoon. Graham took the child inside and gave her to a man she was living with – an 80-year-old man who has yet to be identified. He placed the child in a plastic bag and took her to Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital. 

He pulled up to the emergency room and told hospital staff he had a deceased 11-month-old child in his vehicle. The police arrested Graham later that night and transported her to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, where she remains incarcerated while police officers continue their thorough investigation. 

Virginia Family Creates GoFundMe Page 

On Wednesday (September 13), a GoFundMe page for the 11-month-old child was created by Frances Spires – who claims to be the child’s grandmother (mother of Arianna Wicker). As of September 16, the GoFundMe page has received $1,005 of its $2,000 goal with 28 donations ranging from $10 to $100. 

“I am fundraising for my daughter Arianna Wicker.She is a first time mom,just got out of school not working and her 11 month old daughter has passed away unexpectedly. SHE IS GOING TO NEED HELP WITH EVERYTHING THAT COMES ALONG WITH BURYING A CHILD,” the page’s description reads. 

My beautiful grand baby Myrical,..sorry I didn't get to be in your life more…still can not believe you're gone…REST IN PARADISE BABYGIRL!!!! 10/18/22-9/12/23

Posted by Frances R Spires on Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The grandmother also posted a photo of Myrical Wicker on her personal Facebook page at around 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday with a caption that read, “My beautiful grand baby Myrical,..sorry I didn’t get to be in your life more…still can not believe you’re gone…REST IN PARADISE BABYGIRL!!!! 10/18/22-9/12/23.” 

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During a press conference detailing the situation, Sheriff Ron Montgomery described how he and his officers were both ‘shocked’ and in ‘disbelief’ over the careless act of the caregiver. “We have children ourselves and I can tell you that we all go home and hug our kids and grandkids a little tighter,” he said.

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