BRANDON — A two-year-old boy died Tuesday after being left in an SUV for more than 5 hours at a Brandon shopping center, authorities said.
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The child's half-sister, who works at a nearby day care center and left him in the car, is in custody, said Hillsborough Sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon. He said authorities are talking to the state attorney's office about possible charges.
The half-sister, who is 21, has not been identified. She left the child in the car at the Oak Park Plaza shopping center at 9 a.m. when she went to work at the day care center and didn't realize it until she went on break at 2:30 p.m., McKinnon said.
"The relative, as you can imagine, very upset, very distraught, removed the child,'' he said, and took him to a nearby dialysis center for aid. "The medical personnel inside that facility attempted to render aid to the child until fire-rescue got here.''
The boy was then taken to Brandon Regional Hospital, where he died.
While the child was inside the car, the engine was not running and there was no air-conditioning, McKinnon said. Temperatures in the Tampa area reached the mid-80s on Tuesday.
"It doesn't take long for these cars to overheat and a child is going to end up suffering from that heat in a relatively quick amount of time,'' said McKinnon, who said the child's parents have been notified.
The shopping center is located at 731 Lumsden Road W. The half-sister worked at BFFkidz, a day care center there. A sign posted outside the day care center says, "Look before you lock. Never leave a child alone in a car.''
"Check the back seat, check your vehicles before you go inside -- those campaigns have been throughout the country yet we continue to still see this tragic thing happen,'' McKinnon said. "This certainly should be a reminder of what we need to do when transporting our children.''
Check tampabay.com for updates.
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