Foster mom charged after 12-month-old boy dies in hot car, police say

A woman in North Carolina has been charged in connection with her 12-month-old foster son's death after she left him in a hot car for hours while she was at work last month, police said.

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Dawn Broecke, 42, was charged with involuntary manslaughter after her foster son was found inside a car at the McMullen Creek Shopping Center off Pineville Matthews Road.

According to officers, Broecke works at the shopping center and said she didn't realize she had left the baby in the car until she got off work.

Police said that when she found her foster son in the vehicle around 5 p.m. on Aug. 29, she frantically called 911 for help.

When officers got there, they said they tried to save the boy and rushed him to a Charlotte-area hospital, but it was too late.

"I know the baby was worked on all the way up to the hospital," police said.

The Mecklenbug County Medical Examiner's Office said the child died from hypothermia due to environmental exposure.

Temperatures climbed into the mid-80s the day he was found in the car.

It's still unclear exactly how long the baby was in the car, but investigators said it was for "a prolonged period."

Detectives talked to family members and are checking surveillance video at the shopping center.

Advocates for children are warning other parents to learn from the tragedy.

"Parents say, 'How would you forget a child? This would never happen.' So, they don't create a system to protect from it, because they don't think that it would ever happen to them," Janice Williams with Safe Kids of Charlotte-Mecklenburg said.

The Division of Social Services said it usually investigates cases such as this one to determine if there was a pattern of neglect and if the woman’s other foster children should be removed from the home.

The Division of Social Services is investigating the case.

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