JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 20-month-old girl brought to a hospital just after midnight Tuesday died despite efforts from hospital personnel to save her, Jacksonville police said.
Because the toddler’s cause of death cannot be determined, the Sheriff’s Office is investigating as if a crime occurred “so we don’t miss anything,” JSO Lt. Mike Silcox said.
He said “at this point, everything is possible,” including a natural death.
But until an autopsy is performed Tuesday morning to determine the child’s cause of death, police are treating it as an undetermined death investigation.
“We don’t even know what happened at this point, but it obviously occurred somewhere other than the hospital, and we’re trying to determine that,” Silcox said.
He said he did not know which of the parents had brought the girl to the hospital but that the parents live in different homes. One lives on 14th Street and the other lives on the Westside, he said.
Robert Simmons lives in the neighborhood of 14th Street where police were seen investigating with two crime scene units Tuesday morning. He said he was shocked to see all of the police activity.
“When you think Christmas right around the corner and this brings joy to children, to lose a child so close to a holiday like that is pretty sad,” Simmons said.
Simmons said he was familiar with the family and had seen a young child in diapers in the front yard of the home before, although he didn’t know them personally.
Jessica Clark also lives in the neighborhood. She too doesn’t know the family, but shared condolences.
“As a mother, I couldn’t imagine how they’re feeling,” Clark said. “I would be devastated.”
The young girl was said to have had siblings, who are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.