LARGO, FL (AP/WFLA) – A Florida man faces charges after his 8-month-old son died while being kept in a sweltering bedroom with no air conditioning.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that 25-year-old William Francis Hendrickson was told by authorities the day before to keep his children in another room.
The baby died on Thursday after being kept in a mobile home bedroom in Largo that was 109 degrees when police arrived.
“It was a very [small] space, the windows were closed to this room. The temperature was very high. Detectives got a thermometer and measured the temperature in the room and it was 109 degrees,” said Lt. Randall Chaney, with Largo Police Department.
Authorities say the baby’s body temperature was 105.6 degrees. Hendrickson’s 2-year-old daughter had to be treated for dehydration.
The children’s mother was arrested days earlier on a battery charge.
County child protection investigators did a welfare check on Thursday and told Hendrickson not to leave the children in the bedroom.
He faces charges of aggravated child neglect and aggravated manslaughter.
DCF Secretary Mike Carroll released the following statement regarding the tragic incident:
The circumstances surrounding this baby’s death are horrible and we are devastated by this loss. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation and DCF will deploy a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team to review all interactions this family has had with Florida’s child welfare system. We will also support law enforcement in any way appropriate to hold anyone responsible fully accountable.”
The DCF said the family was investigated three times and had been receiving services from a provider contracted by Eckerd Kids, a decision made following an investigation earlier this year.
The deceased child’s sibling is in the care of relatives, according to the DCF.