It was cold outside as a Georgia grandmother and her grandson were running around town, but she had the heater running at a comfortable temperature in the car. The warmth was enough to soothe him to sleep, but she realized that she had made a fatal mistake.
The 47-year-old grandmother, Barbara Michelle Pemberton, was responsible for the care of her 13-month-old grandson, Shadoe Braxton, when she strapped him in his car seat and went for a drive.
As children often do, Shadoe fell asleep in the car. Wanting to make sure he stayed comfortable for his nap, Barbara turned the heat up. While the gesture seems to be one of concern, what she did next proves otherwise and has her facing 10 to 30 years in prison.
Barbara took the child’s car nap time as an opportunity to swing by a friend’s house for a little visit. Not wanting to wake Shadoe, she left him in the car with it still running, while she was inside socializing. According to the Free Times Press, the grandmother said that time simply slipped away from her, when she returned to the car five hours after leaving the little one out there and found him dead.
A lethal combination of the sunlight pouring in through the car windows and the car’s heater caused temperatures inside the woman’s ride to maintain about 100 degrees. It wasn’t until 4:20 in the afternoon, when Barbara went out to the car to leave, that she found her grandson had suffered heat stroke and died.
The Daily Mail reports that the friends the woman was visiting with allegedly told her repeatedly throughout the five hours to go check on the child. However, those suggestions seemed to have gone ignored, if it was even said at all, since at any time the supposedly concerned friends could have check on Shadoe themselves if Barbara refused to do it.
Thanks to the implementation of a new law in the state, Barbara has been charged with second degree murder, since her actions are considered an offense of cruelty-to-children that ended in death. Walker County’s Sheriff Steve Wilson said that she’ll face one to three decades behind bars, regardless of whether there was intent to cause the child harm or if it was a careless act.
The officers on the scene noted that it did not appear that the grandmother or her friends were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the tragedy occurred. Clearly, the group of adults, specifically the woman in charge of this child, were grossly irresponsible and selfish.
Her neglectful actions warranted the charges brought against her, and more states should adopt the same policy. If the price to pay is as steep as this, maybe degenerate adults would pay more attention to the kids in their care, so “accidents” like this don’t happen so often.