DELTONA, Fla. - The Department of Children and Family is investigating the family of a baby who died in a hot car while in someone else’s care.
The 6-month-old boy was found dead Friday afternoon in a teacher’s vehicle at a Volusia County middle school, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
A teacher who was caring for the baby accidentally left the child in the back seat of an SUV parked at Deltona Middle School for eight hours, deputies said.
The Sheriff's Office received a frantic 911 call about the infant shortly before 4 p.m. A school-resource officer arrived to the vehicle three minutes after the call.
"When our deputy, school-resource deputy, responded out to the car, it was pretty clear there was nothing that could be done to save the baby," said Andrew Gant, a VCSO spokesman. "We wish it was different."
It's uncertain if the teacher, who wasn't publicly identified, will face charges.
The teacher isn't the infant's parent, deputies said.
Channel 9 learned of several lengthy meetings Saturday involving deputies, DCF and others.
The baby's sibling was removed from the home and is staying with relatives.
The Volusia County Teacher’s Organization is waiting to determine what may happen to the teacher.
“Typically, in our district, when there’s an investigation being done by an outside agency like law enforcement, they usually wait until that investigation is complete before they take any formal action,” said VTO President Andrew Spar.
He said one could make the argument that what happened inside the SUV wasn’t technically work related. But he said the teachers’ code of ethics said any incident involving a child could affect that teacher’s job.
“There’s not a lot of information known at this point in time. Obviously it’s a tragic situation. It’s a horrific tragedy,” said Spar.
As the investigation unfolds, people in Deltona are reaching out and trying to comfort a family in pain.
Ignacio Rozenthal brought stuffed animals to the scene where the child died.
“Accidents happen. That’s what happens in life sometimes,” he said. “I don’t know everything about it to make a judgement. It would be wrong for me to judge exactly what happened.”
Dr. James Russell, the superintendent of Volusia County Schools, released a statement saying, "Our deepest sympathy goes out to the family and the Deltona Middle School community. This tragedy has broken the hearts of all of us in the school district. We will stand by the family with love and compassion."
The teacher’s name has not been released.
There were no previous reports of abuse involving the baby.