• Report: Mother left child, who died of heat stroke, in car while drinking, taking drugs

    By: Kelly Healey


    BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A woman was arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated manslaughter by child neglect and drug possession, Brevard County officials said.


    On April 4, Emily Hartman, 26, of Palm Bay, went to the Melbourne Fire Department Station 71 with her 14-month-old child, who was in medical distress, a news release said.


    According to an arrest affidavit, Hartman’s timeline started at about 10 p.m. April 3 to 1:17 p.m. April 4. During that time frame, Hartman stopped at numerous locations to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana and buy cocaine, officials said.


    Rescue personnel determined the child, Richard Wighard, was suffering from a heat-related illness and was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center.


    However, doctors at the hospital had the child flown to AdventHealth for Children in Orlando for further treatment, the release said.


    Despite the hospital staff’s efforts, the child died Saturday, officials said. The cause of heat was determined to be heat stroke, officials said.


    Authorities said Hartman had marijuana in the center console of her car and cocaine in her purse, which was in the trunk.


    Hartman remains in the Brevard County Jail without bail.


    The following timeline is according to an arrest affidavit:


    • Hartman met someone at a business and went to Side Pocket Bar for 45 minutes in that person’s car while leaving her child in her car. She later picked up her car with the child asleep inside.
    • She went to a gas station and bought cigarettes and milk, while leaving the child in the running car.  
    • She met her friend at Mug’s Pub in Melbourne and left the child in the running car with the A/C on. She paid her tab at about 1:45 a.m. and went to check on the child.
    • She stopped at another gas station to buy soda and drink mixers.
    • Hartman went to her friend’s apartment for about 30 minutes to drink alcohol, leaving the child in the car. The car was turned off.
    • Hartman drove around for a while before stopping at the pool area at the Grand Meadows subdivision, where she attempted to persuade the Mug’s pub bartender to bring her beer, but to no avail. She stayed in the pool area smoking and later changed the child’s diaper.   
    • After a series of small stops, Hartman later drove to a man’s home to buy cocaine and left the child in the car, which was not running. 
    • Hartman smoked two marijuana blunts with the man and stayed in the home for about 4 ½ hours (until 12:45 p.m.) while the child sat in the car as the heat outside rose.    
    • The child was in distress and Hartman drove him to the Melbourne Fire Department.

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