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Babysitter arrested in death of 10-month-old girl left for 5 hours in car that reached 133 degrees: Deputies

Rhonda Charmane Jewell, 46, left a 10-month-old infant in a car that reached the temperature of 133 degrees Fahrenheit, deputies said. (Mugshot: Baker County Sheriff's Office)

Rhonda Charmane Jewell, 46, left a 10-month-old infant in a car that reached the temperature of 133 degrees Fahrenheit, deputies said. (Mugshot: Baker County Sheriff’s Office)

A babysitter is accused of leaving an infant girl in a car that experienced searing temperatures, leading to her death. Deputies in Baker County, Florida, did not name the 10-month-old victim, but Sheriff Scotty Rhoden highlighted “the magnitude of the tragedy felt throughout our county yesterday.”

“As the Sheriff of a small community, posting the details of this tragedy is very hard for me,” he wrote in a Facebook post published Thursday. “The facts of the tragedy are below, but I am asking my community to respect the privacy of the victim’s family and to please join me in prayer for the family and everyone involved.”

Deputies claimed that Rhonda Charmane Jewell, 46, picked up the 10-month-old girl from the mother’s home in the city of Macclenny at approximately 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

She had been babysitting the girl on and off since June, investigators said. That day, she was supposed to look after a total of four children, which included the victim.

“Rhonda drove to another residence in south Macclenny where she was going to babysit other children as well,” they wrote. “Rhonda arrived and went into the residence, leaving the infant in the vehicle. It wasn’t until the mother of the infant arrived around 1:00 PM to pick up the infant that Rhonda realized the infant was left in the vehicle.”

The internal temperature of the car reached more than 133 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. Temperatures outside were 98 degrees, authorities said.

Deputies claim Jewell left the child in the vehicle for at least five hours.

The baby was taken to Fraser Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead, deputies said.

Medical staff found the baby’s internal temperature to be 110 degrees Fahrenheit, which was the highest that the thermometer could measure. The girl’s external temperature was 102.1 degrees Fahrenheit, they said.

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Jewell faces a count of aggravated manslaughter of a child. She was released from the Baker County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond, deputies told Law&Crime.

Her attorney George Hebert Nelson declined to comment, telling Law&Crime that the public defender’s office does not comment on pending cases.

“Each of us are given the gift of life every morning we wake up and every evening when we finish our day, we are blessed if our family is safe and healthy,” Rhoden said. “In the blink of an eye, our world can be turned upside down. Please be mindful of this when trying to understand the tragedy that took place in our small town yesterday.”

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