MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – According to Kidsandcars.org, on average, 38 children die each year after a parent or caregiver leaves them inside a hot car.
So far this year, 12 children died from heatstroke inside vehicles across the country. Two of those deaths were in the Pee Dee.
Right now, there are no laws in South Carolina that specifically deal with heat related car deaths among children.
In the case of Hartsville toddler, Sophia Goyeneche-Gray, police charged her father Richie Gray with unlawful neglect of a child.
Sophia died in May 8th, after police say her father left her in a vehicle for several hours. The coroner’s office ruled her death an accident.
13-month-old Jeremiah Kennedy died May 28th after he was left in a car. The Florence County Sheriff Department says its investigation is still ongoing into that case.
Horry County police officials told New13 they usually discuss with the solicitor’s office before deciding charges in our area but there are limitations in the type of charges they can file.
“As far as any state laws that are on the books right now, unlawful neglect of a child. You also have homicide by child abuse. Either one of those two could be a factor involved in the investigation,” Lt. Robert Kegler said.
If you do see a child left alone in a vehicle, police say you should call 911 immediately.