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Alabama parents charged after child found dead in hot car

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 9:20 AM CDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Two Franklin County parents face criminal charges after their 3-year-old child was found dead in a hot car Sunday.

Twenty-year-old Dakota Heath Fowler and 21-year-old Brandi Michelle Burks are both charged with manslaughter.

The pair told Franklin County deputies that they put their 3-year-old boy to bed around midnight Saturday. When they awoke Sunday around 3 p.m. they found the boy in their car.

The sheriff’s office says they were called to respond around 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Emergency medical personnel tried to provide aid, but the child was already dead.

Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver says the parents’ story doesn’t add up.

“It was reported that they put the child to bed at midnight and then they went to sleep and slept until 2 or 3 p.m. that day and you know that’s a long time for nobody to have any contact with that child,” said Oliver.

Sheriff Oliver says the parents told his deputies when they woke up, they couldn’t find their 3-year-old toddler, until they looked inside a vehicle parked outside of their apartment.

“It had been in there for several hours as you know the temperatures yesterday inside a vehicle would’ve been well over triple digits,” said Sheriff Oliver.

The neighbor and landlord of the family says the toddler who died is named Bentley.

“He was my special person. I’ve known him ever since he was born. He was a cool, little boy. He was my favorite and I miss him dearly today for sure,” said Becky Palmer.

Palmer saw all of the sheriff deputies and first responders who showed up to the apartment Sunday afternoon.

“A lot of Hodges rescue squad people. There was about 12 vehicles out there people were out there trying to help those people,” said Palmer.

Sheriff Oliver says the child’s body was sent in for a forensics autopsy and that the case remains under investigation.

Members of law enforcement want to remind you to never leave a child or pet inside of a car unattended. Doing so is a crime.

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