Deputies: Mom charged after leaving son in hot car

By Marques White - Reporter

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A 31-year-old Orange Park mother was charged with a misdemeanor on Tuesday after deputies said she left her 2-year-old son unattended in her SUV for more than 15 minutes.

Deputies said Jessica Burroughs left all four windows rolled down and the SUV not running at their Gano Avenue home just before 5 p.m., when it was 90 degrees outside.

The boy, Samuel, was in the rear passenger seat, locked in a car seat, deputies said. They said he was sweating but was responsive, and he had urinated on himself.

A witness told deputies the boy was left in the car for about 30 minutes.

Two people going door-to-door selling chocolates for a youth program noticed the boy in the SUV.

Burroughs, who said Samuel turned 2 on Thursday, told News4Jax it was just a mistake and she would never do anything like it again. She said she had gone inside to use the bathroom and was gone for just eight minutes.

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"My truck was pulled up to my house, my house door was open, my windows were down, my truck driver's side door was opened," Burroughs said. "I was having him watched by multiple people. He wasn't just alone. I had neighbors watching him -- the one next to me, the one across from me, the one right there. My other kid, they was right there watching him at the door."

Deputies said Burroughs was not charged with a felony because the circumstances didn't meet the criteria for that charge.

"I'm very upset. I'm overwhelmed. You think that people that meant to do that to their to their children. That' not me. I didn't want none of this," said Burroughs. "There's no way I would do it over like I done it. Now I'm facing so many consequences. I know I messed up. I am guilty. But in a way, I'm not guilty, I had someone watching my kids. I had someone watching my babies."

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The Department of Children and Families is also investigating.

Earlier this week, Nassau County mother Michelle King was charged with leaving her 18-month-old son in a hot car for about four hours while she slept. That child is now being supervised by DCF.

Jacksonville mother Vivian Guo is also facing charges after police said she left her 5-year-old daughter in a hot car in the parking lot of the Costco at the St. Johns Town Center.

DCF spokesman John Harrell said he's very concerned about the increasing number of these incidents, but parents need to understand it only takes a few minutes for tragedy to happen.

"It could be that people are noticing this more and that's encouraging, but it still shouldn't happen that's the bottom line here," said DCF's John Harrell.  

He said parents are putting their children at risk if they leave their child in a car for any period of time.

"Because it's putting children at risk and it's amazing with these six cases we've had in the Jacksonville area, so far there have not been any child deaths," said Harrell.  

There have been 16 hot car deaths in the U.S. this year. Harrell told News4Jax Thursday night that there have been 6 cases in Jacksonville in recent weeks.  

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