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Toddler dies after being locked in vehicle in central Las Vegas

Updated October 5, 2020 - 10:04 pm

A 22-month-old girl was found dead after being left in a vehicle on Monday afternoon, police said.

Lt. David Valenta, of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, said a man flagged down a patrol vehicle driving through the 1700 block of H Street around 3:33 p.m.

The man told the officer he was locked out of his car and his daughter was inside, Valenta said.

Witnesses told police that they’d been trying to open the door with a hanger as the man tried to call a tow truck company, and when police got involved they broke the window open.

They were able to get the girl out of the car and performed CPR, but “the life-saving measures failed” and the girl was pronounced dead, Valenta said.

The Clark County coroner’s office will identify the girl and determine her cause and manner of death, but Valenta said her injuries appeared consistent with a hot car death.

Her father was detained and was being interviewed at Metro headquarters as of 8:30 p.m. Valenta said he could not confirm whether the man was cooperating with police.

Valenta said police have not determined how long the child was in the vehicle. He said the car was running with the keys locked inside when they got the girl out, but he wasn’t sure whether the air conditioner was running.

He advised any parents who find themselves in a similar situation to maintain a sense of urgency if they end up with a child locked in a car.

“Expect most often, if you’re not going to break that window yourself, expect the police will be breaking windows,” he said. “There absolutely needs to be a sense of urgency” to immediately get a child out of the vehicle.

Valenta said the car that the child was locked in had been parked on the street.

“This wasn’t the hottest day — we’re coming off of the 100-, 110-degree heat — but still, I believe it was like upper 90s, 96 degrees,” Valenta said. “That is still too hot to have a kid unattended in a vehicle.”

Metro’s abuse and neglect detectives are conducting the investigation.

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter.

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