An Alexandria mother who left her baby in a hot car will not be going home to her family this week. On Wednesday, a judge refused to let Zoraida Hernandez out of jail until certain conditions could be met. Northern Virginia Bureau reporter David Culver was in court and has reaction from family members on the judge's ruling.
The Virginia mother who left her 8-month-old baby boy in a hot car for about 6 hours will be released on bond Thursday.
Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, 32, was charged with felony child neglect following her son's death July 6.
Hernandez was granted a $25,000 bond following the completion of several court-ordered procedures. One of those orders included a visit to her home from Child Protective Services as Hernandez has four other children.
Police said Hernandez drove to her workplace, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, around 9 a.m. Friday and forgot she had left her son, Nathan, in the car. She left work around 3:30 p.m. and drove to pick up her 2-year-old daughter from daycare in Alexandria, according to charging documents. At that point she found Nathan still in his car seat. The baby was not breathing.
"[Hernandez] didn't give Nathan a second thought during the day," prosecutor Molly Newton said Wednesday. "[She left him] burning up to death."
Hernandez immediately drove to INOVA Alexandria Hospital. The baby was pronounced dead a short time later.
Nathan had a body temperature of 108 degrees, the charging documents state.
"I'm having a hard time understanding how she would miss the child," Judge Wiggins said Wednesday.
David Culver, News4's Northern Virginia Beareau reporter, said about 30 people appeared in court in support of Hernandez. One nephew called Hernandez "the best person, the best mother."
Police recommend that parents of young children be extra careful during hot summer months. "Slow down and be careful.... Try not to let things get too busy," said Lt. Mark Bergin of the Alexandria Police Department.
Also on Friday, a 16-month-old girl died after being left in a car for about four hours in Baltimore.
According to KidsAndCars.org, approximately 38 children die from being trapped inside hot cars every year.