Woman accused of leaving child in hot car for over 40 minutes

Katy Gross, 25, arrested on child abuse charge

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor , News4Jax.com Staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville woman was arrested Tuesday after she left a child in a hot car for at least 40 minutes outside a nursing home in Oceanway, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Katy Gross, 25, is charged with child abuse. 

Jacksonville Fire Rescue and police responded about 10:30 a.m. to the Lanier Terrace Nursing Home on the city's Northside after a man noticed a small child sweating inside a white Impala that was not running, according to the arrest report. 

The little girl was in the car from at least 9:45 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. with no air, police said, and it is believed the she could have been in the car for an hour-and-a-half. 

Officers said the child was "very hot and sweaty, but not in major distress." She did not have to be taken to the hospital. 

Investigators said Gross is employed by the nursing home, however, it's unclear whether she was working at the time of the incident.

The Department of Children and Families was notified and took custody of the child.

Under no circumstances should a child be left in unsupervised in a car, News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said.

"It's against the law to leave a child unattended in a car for a long period of time, even if its not heat related," Smith said. "To be unsupervised for that long period of time is a violation and then you add on the fact that the child was sweating -- the child could have suffered some serious injuries or even died if the car had reached high temperatures."

Smith warned that even though its now the fall season, it doesn't take long for a car to heat up year-round in Florida. According to DCF, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. 

Gross was booked into the Duval County Jail on a $20,000 bond, according to jail records. 

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