MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – A 28-year-old Middleburg man has been charged with child neglect after his 2-year-old son was found unresponsive in a locked car.
The Clay County Sheriff's Office said the incident happened Aug. 20 and the child has not regained consciousness. The boy's father, Abraham Martin, was arrested Monday and is being held on a $50,000 bond.
The redacted warrant didn’t reveal where the incident took place, but neighbors said it began with a search at the Madison Commons Apartments. They said the parents searched frantically for their son and couldn't find him.
Neighbor Tonio Iwen said her son saw deputies searching a nearby pond.
"I seen that the parents came down this way and asked me if I seen the kid come this way," Iwen said. "They were searching and they were in panic mode."
Clay County deputies finally found the unresponsive child inside the family's locked vehicle in a parking lot. The child, who deputies said was having seizures, was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He remains in intensive care.
During the investigation, detectives determined the outside temperature was 88 degrees and the temperature inside the Sheriff’s Office crime scene van rose to 105 degrees.
According to investigators, Martin was inside the apartment napping when his son got out. Since the believe he did not provide proper supervision for the child or take precautionary measures to ensure the child’s safety, so he was charged with neglect.
Neighbors are still in disbelief.
"People ain't watching their children like they're supposed to be," Iwen said. "Growing up, when you first have your children, you were watching your child 24/7. Three-year-old, 4-year-old -- you want to be out there watching your child."
This is the sixth hot-car incident in northeast Florida this year. In the other five, the children were left in hot cars while the parent shopped or ran an errand. In this case, deputies believe the boy made it out of the apartment and into the car by himself, then couldn't get out.