This week, a couple in Florida were arrested for allegedly murdering their 18-month-old daughter.
According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the parents, Joel and Jazmine Rondon, had attended a drug- and alcohol-fueled Fourth of July party and returned home late. After arriving home, Jazmine instructed her husband to bring the toddler inside, while she took the other two children into the house. However, Joel assumed that his wife had retrieved their daughter as all the car doors were closed. Both went to bed without confirming if their daughter had been brought inside.
The following morning, Joel asked one of the older children to “check on the baby” in the bedroom but was informed that the baby was not there. After searching the house, he eventually looked inside the car, which was parked in the driveway, and discovered the unresponsive toddler still strapped into her car seat.
Joel and Jazmine then drove the toddler to the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at about 2:42 p.m. The heat index on the day of her death was 105 degrees.
After the medical center staff alerted law enforcement of the incident, Joel and Jazmine submitted to drug screenings conducted by the Department of Children and Families. Joel tested positive for methamphetamine, marijuana, and alcohol, while Jazmine tested positive for both marijuana and alcohol.
An autopsy revealed that the cause of the victim’s death was hyperthermia resulting from being left inside a car, and the manner of death was ruled a homicide. The Rondons were taken into custody and charged with one count each of aggravated manslaughter of a child. They are scheduled to appear in court again on August 8th for arraignments.