The heart-wrenching wailing of family members echoed outside the yellow tape perimeter at Apple Creek Learning Center in Luther Friday night. That tape kept them away from the investigation of where a four-month baby girl was discovered dead just after 5pm in a vehicle in the parking lot at the beloved daycare. It appears to be a horrible accident.
Oklahoma County Sheriff Office spokesman Mark Opgrande updated the media on what is known at this point, and what can be shared publicly:
“The grandmother, from Wellston, had custody of the four-month old baby girl. She gets up headed to Oklahoma City to work thinking she had dropped off the child. At 5pm, she came back to Apple Creek and went inside to get the baby but the staff said she was never dropped off that morning. When they went out to the woman’s vehicle, the baby was discovered in the back seat,” said Opgrande.
Luther Police Department began the investigation, and later OCSO became involved. Opgrande said it’s likely that the death occurred in Oklahoma City at some point during the day when the grandmother was at work, unknowing that her grandchild was in the vehicle that appears to be a red SUV.
Late into the evening, the medical examiner, crime investigators, Luther Fire and Luther Police remained at Apple Creek conducting the investigation; and gentle words were given to family members who came seeking answers and unbelieving what had happened.
The Fire Department has called chaplains to assist first responders. The church building across the street from Apple Creek is the Luther Church of Christ and minister Chris Hill said his congregation will offer any help it can to the families or their neighbors at Apple Creek.
OCSO will provide further updates on the investigation.
Immediately tonight, Apple Creek owner Darci Bolner posted about the tragedy on Facebook; and a tremendous outpouring of support overflowed. It was a difficult scene as other parents arrived to pick up their children at the end of the day.
Many promises of prayer have been offered for all affected.
The Forget-Me-Not Vehicle Safety Act became Oklahoma law in 2008. Designed to protect children under six years old left unattended in a car, first time violators face a misdemeanor conviction and a minimum $50 fine, according to OSCN.
An article published at newsok.com just last week said that Oklahoma is among states with the highest hot car death rate.