11-year-old girl dies after being found in hot car in her Long Island driveway

CORAM, Long Island (WABC) -- Questions remain about the death of an 11-year-old girl on Long Island who was found alone in the family car in the stifling heat, with the windows shut.

Authorities were called around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when the child was found inside a vehicle on Kathleen Crescent in Coram.

Apparently the girl's mother and her three children were out running errands before they got home and went inside, police said. It is unclear how much time passed before the mother realized the 11-year-old wasn't inside and was still in the car with the windows up.

The child's mother called 911 when she realized what had happened.

Police said the mother was instructed to bring the child into the house and perform CPR. Responding officers assisted her until the girl was transported to Stony Brook Hospital where she later died.

"When you're in that stagnated environment of a closed car, you're essentially in an oven," said Dr. Brian Lee of Long Island Community Hospital.

He and his colleague, Dr Joseph Zito say it's tragic but not uncommon.

"If a child's left completely defenseless in a car where they can't escape, they'll eventually succumb to that," said Dr. Lee.

It was not clear why the girl could not get out on her own, although investigators said she apparently had some form of disability.

Doctors say it would not have taken long in the blistering heat for the temperature in the car to rise.

"I think the difference is how quickly the temperature rises," said Dr. Zito. "Within 10 minutes you can have a 10-15 degree increase in temperature. Within an hour, you can have a 40 degrees increase in temperature."

That rapid rise would send body temperatures soaring. And they say children are particularly vulnerable.

"Just because they have a smaller body mass, their body mass can warm up much more rapidly than that of an adult," said Dr. Lee.

The emotional scene brought veteran officers to tears. Neighbors of the little girl are devastated and demanded answers about how this could happen.

"It's an 11-year-old girl, it's a baby," neighbor Tommy Score said. "She had the rest of her life ahead of her, that family has the rest of their lives ahead of them without her."

"She was a sweet little girl. Our kids played together. A very loving, wonderful kid," said next door neighbor Scott Krusen.

The temperature was in the 90s outside when the young girl was found inside the stifling car.

Crime scene investigators arrived to the scene to gather evidence, but it is still too early to determine if any charges will be filed.

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