A 3-year-old foster child died after he was left in a hot car for hours in Spartanburg, South Carolina on Wednesday, according to multiple media reports.
Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger told WYFF that the 3-year-old boy was found dead by his foster mother around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.
According to Spartanburg Police Department, the woman said she thought she dropped the boy off at daycare along with her other children that morning and didn’t realize that he never made it inside until she found his body in the back of her SUV.
She said she called police immediately after she found the body, according to police.
A preliminary autopsy showed that the boy’s death was heat related, according to ABC News.
Temperatures were in the 90s in Spartanburg Wednesday.
Police are still investigating the boy’s death, which they believe was accidental, ABC News reported.
Authorities confirmed that the boy was in the South Carolina foster care system. The Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is investigating the incident, in addition to police, according to Fox Carolina News.
Police have not released the name of the boy.
The 3-year-old’s death in Spartanburg is at least the second time this year a foster child has died in SCDSS care.
The Robinsons were charged with homicide by child abuse on January 19 — the day they were scheduled to adopt Victoria Rose Smith.
Since Victoria Rose Smith’s death, more than 42,000 people have signed a petition asking state lawmakers to reform SCDSS.
According to SCDSS Office of Child Fatalities, more than 25 S.C. children die every year due to maltreatment by a caregiver.
In 2020, 27 children in South Carolina died due to maltreatment, and six children died because of abuse.
At least 10 South Carolina children have died due to maltreatment so far in 2021.
South Carolina is one of the worst states in the U.S. for overall child well-being, according to the 2020 KIDS County Book by the Casey Foundation, which ranked South Carolina as the 41st state for children. Some of the statistics that led to that ranking include:
- 656 children died in 2019.
- 8,088 children were in foster care in 2020.
- 56 percent of children on Medicaid
- 15,946 kids were abused or maltreated in 2019
- 19.9 percent of SC children were living in poverty in 2019 (compared to 16.9 nationally).
- 12,789 South Carolina students were homeless in the 2018-2019 school year.
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