Investigation underway after toddler found dead in car in Franklin Township

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Investigation underway after toddler found dead in car in New Jersey
Officials are investigating the death of a young child in Franklin Township, New Jersey, on Tuesday afternoon. Josh Einiger has the latest details.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- Officials are investigating the death of a young child found in a car in New Jersey on Tuesday afternoon.

The incident was reported around 3 p.m. outside a home in Somerset County.

The investigation into the toddler's death was focused around a car in a driveway on Sumerall Road. It was not yet clear if the child was a boy or girl.

Stone-faced investigators orbited silently around the grim scene. They documented the car seat that became a toddler's death trap after being left all alone, in the summertime heat.

It was hard enough for seasoned professionals to take, but for the baby's parents, it was agony.

"They were just screaming in pain and anguish," neighbor Treana Huntley said.

Huntley watched as first responders attempted to console the toddler's mother, who had collapsed in the front yard.

"And I heard the dad screaming uncontrollably and then I heard the mom start wailing, really sobbing," Huntley said.

It isn't clear how or why, but somehow, investigators say, the toddler was left in the car seat, sometime Tuesday morning. It wasn't until the afternoon that someone realized it and called 911.

Medics pronounced the child dead on the scene.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the car was towed away from the deeply traumatized community, who had heard the heartbreak and lived the horror.

"I've seen them. They used to have sprinklers running around the water, it's really sad you know," neighbor Alex Krstevski said.

"It was gut-wrenching, it almost made me want to break into tears as a mother," Huntley said. "Just hearing that pain from another mother it was very hurtful to hear. I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

Homicide investigators from the Somerset County Prosecutors Office are looking into the case. It's not clear if they will file any criminal charges, but it's also not clear what any police agency could do to punish this family that they won't do themselves.

After all, they will have to live with the ramifications of this horrible mistake, for the rest of their lives.

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