ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - Rockledge detectives continue to review the actions of a father whose 9-month-old infant died after he accidentally left her strapped in the backseat of his hot, closed pickup truck for at least four hours.
No charges have been filed in the case as detectives and social workers also allow for time for the 31-year-old father, Steven Lillie and his girlfriend, the infant's mother, to grieve the loss.
"That family, I'm sure, is dealing with this on their side. But we're still investigating. We'll also be consulting with the state attorney's office on this," said Donna Seyferth, spokeswoman for the Rockledge Police Department.
The Rockledge case involved one of two deaths to take place this week in the U.S. involving children left unattended in the back seat of a vehicle. The second case – with similar facts - happened Wednesday in Atlanta after a 33-year-old father left a 22-month-old boy in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle for seven hours, investigators reported. The father in that case was charged today with murder and cruelty to children in the first-degree, reports say.
In Rockledge, detectives are trying to determine if there was any criminal negligence involved or if it was a case of inadvertent, human error. A meeting between detectives and prosecutors could take place as soon as next week.
"We're going to let Rockledge detectives finish their investigation and we will meet with them to determine what appropriate action, if any, to take," said Assistant State Attorney Michael Hunt, whose division would prosecute the case if charges are filed.
Lillie discovered his daughter's lifeless body in the back of his sweltering truck about 4:45 p.m. Monday after getting a call from a relative of the infant asking about her whereabouts.
"She's been in the car for hours, and I absolutely forgot about her," said Steven Lillie, the child's father, during a 9-1-1 call to police dispatchers. "She's not alive," he told the dispatcher.
Lillie, who worked at the Fraternal Order of Police in Barton Plaza, 566 Barton Blvd., as a phone solicitor, told police that he had intended to drop off his daughter with her grandmother before heading to his job Monday – the day after Father's Day. Lillie also said that he had been distracted as he pulled into the plaza to go to work.
The Department of Children and Families was also reviewing the case. An autopsy has also been completed but the preliminary findings have not been released.
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