Arrest made in death of boy who spent 7 hours locked in hot car, deputies say

1-year-old Jace Leslie found still buckled in car seat

Arrest made in death of boy who spent 7 hours locked in hot car, deputies say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A woman who was supposed to drop a toddler off at day care but instead forgot and left him in locked in her vehicle for more than seven hours has been arrested in connection with the boy’s death, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Jace Leslie, who would have turned 2 years old in December, was found dead on Sept. 11 outside the day care he attended.

Records show a woman who is friends with the boy’s mother and agreed to take Leslie to day care on days when his mother couldn’t because she was working. In exchange, she received $80 per month.

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The morning of Leslie’s death, deputies said the woman picked him up from his home at 7:30 a.m. and his 15-year-old sister placed him in a rear-facing car seat positioned behind the driver’s seat.

About 10 minutes later, the woman dropped her child off at a babysitter’s house and her next stop was supposed to be Leslie’s day care, which was about five minutes away, according to the report.

Instead, the woman made a phone call at 7:40 a.m. that lasted about 30 minutes. Deputies said the woman was likely distracted while on the phone and forgot to drop Leslie off.

After that, the woman went to Rolling Hills Elementary School, where she works as a third grade teacher, and her vehicle remained parked there from about 7:55 a.m. until 3:21 p.m., records show.

Deputies said the woman stopped by a student’s house to drop off a book then arrived at Leslie’s day care at 3:40 p.m., which is when he was located in the back seat.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the report, the heat index that day reached 105 degrees.

On Monday, deputies announced that the woman would be charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and child neglect.

She was booked into jail on Monday and bonded out at 2:59 p.m.