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North Carolina parents charged after baby dies in hot car

By Kevin Conlon, CNN
updated 10:17 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
  • 4-week-old boy dies after being left in a hot car for two hours
  • Both parents charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse
  • At least 44 children died in 2013 from heatstroke caused by being left in cars

(CNN) -- A Statesville, North Carolina, infant is dead after being left in a hot car last month, and now his parents are under arrest.

Sherrie Tiesha Clay and Shakee Duquan Robinson were arrested Monday on charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse, according to a Statesville police statement.

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Police say Clay and Robinson returned home July 27 "with the victim and other children (but) did not remove the infant from the vehicle (for) approximately two hours."

The 4-week-old was discovered by his aunt and rushed to the hospital, where he died.

Investigators announced Monday that the newborn -- whose name has not been released -- died of hyperthermia.

Both parents are being held in the Iredell County Jail on $200,000 bond. It was not immediately clear if they have an attorney. Social Services placed the couple's remaining children in temporary custody.

The Statesville incident comes at a time of heightened attention on children being left in hot cars.

The tragic death of Cooper Harris became international news in June because of the salacious circumstances surrounding the case. Justin Ross Harris pleaded not guilty to murder and child cruelty charges after leaving his 22-month-old son in the backseat of his car for an entire workday in the sweltering Georgia heat.

Harris said he forgot the child was in the car. Investigators say he researched how hot a car needs to be in order to kill a child, and that while his son was dying in the parking lot, Harris was sending explicit text messages to several women.

The Harris case may have brought hot car deaths to the forefront, but it's not a new phenomenon: At least 44 children died in 2013 from heatstroke caused by being left in cars in the United States, according to national nonprofit organization Over the past decade, the group estimates, there have been at least 388 children who have died of vehicular heatstroke.

CNN's Suzanne Presto contributed to this report

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