Baby dies after family sleeps in running car in Missouri

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An infant died after spending hours inside an idling car with family members, according to police in St. Louis, Missouri.

Screen grab from KSDK video.

An infant died after spending the night in an idling car with sleeping family members, Missouri police told news outlets.

St. Louis authorities responded to a call about the running vehicle on the city’s northwest side around 8:30 am on March 11, KTVI reported.

“We believe they were inside the vehicle to stay warm,” St. Louis Police Lt. Keith Barrett told the outlet.

Temperatures dipped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit in the St. Louis area on March 11.

The car had been running for at least five hours by the time police and firefighters arrived, a neighbor told KTVI, adding that the sound of the vehicle was hard to miss.

“It sounded like a truck, so it was that loud,” the neighbor said. “It sounded like they were hitting the gas. That’s what I thought, revving the gas. Then, it sounded like a truck. My bedroom is in the back of the house, so I heard it all the way back there.”

When first responders opened the car doors, they were hit with a “strong odor of exhaust,” fire officials said, KSDK reported, suggesting carbon monoxide fumes may have leaked into the interior.

Four people were unresponsive inside, according to the outlet, including two children, ages 8 and 9; a 28-year-old woman; and an infant in critical condition.

The occupants were a family, outlets reported, though officials have not said how they are related.

All were transported to a hospital for treatment, according to KSDK, but the infant did not survive.

Her name was Delilah Lockett, officials announced Monday, March 14, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. She was 8 months old.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s child-abuse unit is leading the investigation into Lockett’s death, according to the Post-Dispatch. Her cause of death has not been determined, but an autopsy is scheduled for March 14.

While investigators say the family was not experiencing homelessness, they haven’t been able to determine where the infant lived, the outlet reported.

Mitchell Willetts is a real-time news reporter covering the central US for McClatchy. He is a University of Oklahoma graduate and outdoors enthusiast living in Texas.

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