METAIRIE, LA. - Heartbreaking is the word many neighbors are using to describe the death of 11-month-old Claire Li. The little girl was pronounced dead at East Jefferson General Hospital on Thursday after being left in a hot car for hours.
Her father, Sheng Li, was booked on one count of negligent homicide.
According to Jefferson Parish officials, Li was supposed to drop his daughter off at daycare, and apparently forgot and went to work. When Li left work, authorities said he drove home with the girl still inside the car and went inside his home when he noticed she wasn't there.
Claire was found unresponsive around 5:30 p.m. The girl was taken to East Jefferson General Hospital for treatment and medics attempted to resuscitate her, but she was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m.
“I’m sure it was accidental. I can’t imagine someone killing their own child, but it happens way too much,” said Bob Handley, neighbor. "Whether he goes to jail or not he has to live every morning of his life thinking about that and that’s worse than any jail to me."
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto echoed that sentiment Thursday, during a press conference announcing the child's death.
"Parents with good intentions can make bad mistakes," Lopinto said. "No parent wants to lose their child - not me, and not anybody else. The parents are dealing with the ultimate penalty right now."
The inside of cars can reach deadly temperatures within minutes on hot days, according to experts. In the New Orleans area, the high temperature on Thursday was 90.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office is completing an autopsy for Claire Li. They have not released an official cause of death.
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