A Lakewood, New Jersey, mother has been charged after her 21-month-old daughter died following more than two hours alone in a hot car.
Chaya Shurkin, 25, was charged with second degree endangering the welfare of a child, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release on Monday.
According to prosecutors, officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to a report of a child in distress on May 6. Upon arriving at a residence in Lakewood, police found neighbors attempting to perform CPR on the young girl, who was then transported to a hospital. The child later died at the hospital.
Shurkin’s daughter had been left alone in her car for two and half hours before authorities arrived, prosecutors said. According to NBC New York, temperatures in the area were in the 60s and 70s on that day.
“A thorough and extensive investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in Shurkin’s motor vehicle for approximately two-and-one-half hours with the car turned off, in the heat,” Ocean County prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in the press release.
“The investigation determined that the act of leaving the child in the car unattended for such a long period of time was the cause and manner of the child’s death,” Billhimer added.
At the time of the child’s death in May, NBC New York reported that there had been “a miscommunication” between the daughter’s mother and father about who would bring their daughter inside from the car.
The Lakewood Township Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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Around 37 children under the age of 14 die from being left in a hot car each year, according to NoHeatStroke.org, which studies child vehicular heatstroke deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control say that it is never safe to leave children unattended in a car in any weather, even with the window cracked open.
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