Va. woman faces charges after 11-month-old dies in vehicle

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 2:32 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:21 PM EDT
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YORK COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - An 11-month-old child and a dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot vehicle, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office says.

Caregiver Kristen Danielle Graham, 40, was arrested and charged with one felony count of child neglect and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty after the child’s body was taken to a Newport News hospital.

The sheriff’s office says a man in his 80s showed up at the emergency room and told staff he had a child’s body in his vehicle. Staff members went to the car and found a trash bag with the child inside.

Investigators believe that Graham had taken care of the child for about two days. The child’s mom is a 17-year-old who lives in York County.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s office says Graham got a phone call from a friend who was caring for an elderly person in Newport News. Graham and her friend take turns taking care of that person.

Investigators say the friend asked Graham if she could bring cigarettes.

The sheriff’s office says Graham then put the child in the back of her vehicle with a small dog, drove to Newport News, went to a 7-Eleven and made a few purchases.

Graham then drove to the home in Newport News and stayed for a period of time, the sheriff’s office says.

The investigation reveals that Graham returned to York County around 8 a.m. Tuesday, rolled up the windows and turned the car off. The child and dog remained inside the vehicle.

The sheriff’s office says Graham woke up to a phone call between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and went outside to check on the child, who was dead. The dog was also dead.

Officials say the child was put in a plastic bag and taken to the hospital.

Additional charges are possible as the sheriff’s office waits for autopsy results.