New Jersey mother charged in death of toddler left in hot car after ‘miscommunication’

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — A 25-year-old mother in New Jersey is facing criminal charges over the death of her toddler daughter in a hot car last month.

Prosecutors say Lakewood resident Chaya Shurkin has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reports the Asbury Park Press.

Officers responding to a report of a child in distress at Shurkin’s residence on May 6 found a neighbor performing CPR on the 21-month-old, who died at a hospital later that day, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.

“A thorough and extensive investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in Shurkin’s motor vehicle for approximately 2 1/2 hours with the car turned off, in the heat,” he said.

Temperatures in the area reached 71 degrees that day.

“The investigation determined that the act of leaving the child in the car unattended for such a long period of time was the cause and manner of the child’s death,” the prosecutor said.

A law enforcement source tells NBC 4 that Shurkin brought the girl home after she was taken to day care but refused to go inside, and “there was a miscommunication about whether the toddler’s mother or father would bring the toddler in from the car.”

ABC7 reports a record 52 children died in hot cars in the U.S. last year, according to the KidsAndCars.org nonprofit. (In Florida, an alert passerby spotted an 8-month-old who had been left in a hot car.)

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