“I just forgot.”
Those are the words Tracey Nix spoke to detectives with the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office in Central Florida on Nov. 1, 2022, after Nix allegedly left her 7-month-old granddaughter, Uriel, in a car as temperatures soared to 90 degrees.
Nix, 65, had agreed to watch Uriel that day as the baby’s mother — Nix’s daughter Kaila Schock — went to an appointment at a hair salon. Nix brought Uriel with her as she had lunch with three friends, spending more than an hour at a restaurant some 10 minutes away from Nix’s home. Security footage shows Nix putting Uriel in the back seat of her car before leaving the restaurant.
“The defendant said she parked the car in the yard and forgot the victim was in the back seat and proceeded to inside the house and talk to her dog and practice piano for a ‘long time’ because she had a piano lesson coming up on Thursday,” the affidavit said. “The defendant said she didn’t have ‘anything specific’ on her mind, and it’s not like ‘I was rushing in the house to do anything … I just forgot.'”
Nix apparently didn’t realize the baby was still in the vehicle even as she got back into the car and drove it to the backyard, where she spoke with her husband while waiting for her daughter Rebecca Tucker and grandson Ayden to get to the house.
That’s when Nix remembered.
“The defendant said she got out of the vehicle when Tucker and ‘Ayden’ arrived and ‘all of a sudden’ it ‘came across her head’ that she forgot the victim in the back seat all afternoon,” the affidavit says. At that point, Nix’s husband “panicked” and immediately started CPR on the baby, but it was too late.
The medical examiner determined that Uriel died from “hyperthermia as a result of the victim being left in a vehicle by an adult for several hours with the windows rolled up and the vehicle not running,” the affidavit says and ruled the death a homicide.
Nix has been charged with aggravated manslaughter and leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle. Her daughter — Uriel’s mother — says Nix must be held accountable.
“If I’m objective — she needs to go to prison,” Schock told local ABC affiliate WFTS. “As her daughter, it kills me to say it. As their mother, I demand it. I will fight for them.”
Uriel was the second of Schock’s children to die in Nix’s care. Ezra Schock drowned in a nearby pond on Dec. 22, 2021, while Tracey and her husband, Nun Ney Nix, watched him.
Ezra had made his way to the pond after Tracey Nix had fallen asleep while Nun Nix was out running errands, according to the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office. Schock was six months pregnant with Uriel at the time, and she told WFTS that she got into a car crash as she rushed to Nix’s home after receiving the call about Ezra.
Nix was not charged in Ezra’s death.
“This is the second time in within a year a child has died due to the negligence of the defendant,” the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office affidavit says.
Schock told WFTS that, despite having limited Nix’s time with Uriel, she had wanted to give her mother — a former school principal — a second chance.
“We were anxious, but I loved my mother, and I am a daughter that wanted her mom in her life in some capacity, and in that moment, I thought that I could believe in second chances,” Kaila said. “When I was told that Ezra’s death was an accident, some sliver child part of me thought, ‘OK, good, I get to keep this mom. This grandmother. This person.'”
Uriel and Ezra’s father, Drew Schock, told WFTS that he couldn’t believe that “it actually just f—–g happened twice. In our lifetime.”
“You couldn’t fathom it happening twice,” Drew told the station, adding that he also believed that justice requires punishment for Nix. “Somebody has to answer for that.”
According to Hardee County court documents, Nix is not being held in pretrial custody. A hearing is set for mid-April, and the judge has been asked to allow Nix to receive treatment at a licensed inpatient mental health facility.
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