ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - The Rockledge Police Department arrested a man who they said left his infant daughter in his truck while he went to work.
Steven Darnell Lillie was charged with aggravated manslaughter for the death of his 9-month-old daughter, Anna Marie Lillie.
Lillie was booked and transported to the Brevard County Detention Center.
Lillie told WFTV during an interview that the incident was an accident.
“I break down when nobody is around,” he said. “Everybody who knows me knows she was my life. She was everything to me.”
That’s part of the reason police said they wanted to give the family time to grieve before filing charges.
They said they see this as a tragic accident, but have little choice other than to charge Lillie.
“We were trying to conduct out investigation thoroughly and also sensitively to the family,” said Lt. Donna Seyferth with the Rockledge Police Department. “We recognize the manner in which this occurred and that we had a grieving family. They are aware of what we are doing.”
WFTV’s legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the State Attorney’s Office had no choice but to prosecute in this case, and that it send a message to others in the community to not leave a child unattended in case for any period of time.
“These cases are tragic, but the law demands accountability,” he said. “The fact that he’s lost is child may be in mitigation of sentencing because it doesn’t appear that he intentionally caused the death of his child.”
On Monday, a day where Lillie said nothing seemed to be routine, he rushed to work and forgot to drop the baby off at her grandmother’s house.
The infant was left in his truck outside his office in the hot sun for hours.
By the time he realized where she was, it was too late—the baby had died.
He called his daughter the light of his life and said he'd do anything to suffer in her place