BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The father of an 8-month-old girl who died Wednesday was arrested, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Marvin Mercer, 31, of Zachary, was arrested and charged with negligent homicide after his daughter, Raylee Mercer, was taken to Baton Rouge General Mid-City around noon Wednesday.
Police reported that Marvin Mercer said he was supposed to drop his daughter of a daycare, but instead ended up driving straight to work at a Baton Rouge school, which he called "his normal routine."
He told police he realized two hours later on his lunch break that he had accidentally left his daughter inside his car when "he heard a 'coughing' noise in the back seat," according to the probable cause report.
Police said Mercer then took the unresponsive child to the hospital, where medical staff attempted to save the girl, but they were unable to help Raylee, who died soon after arriving.
Chanda Williams, Mercer's cousin, spoke with the mother of the child and said both parents were not handling what happened well.
"Mom and Dad are loving parents, and I'm quite sure he is destroyed," Williams said. "I know he's destroyed over this cause he loved his girls, and he loves his kids and he loves his wife, and this is just a horrible accident. It's just horrible."
Williams remembered Raylee as a wonderful child.
"She was bubbly, always happy. She was a typical 8-month-old. Just bouncing, smiling, fund. Just a really, really sweet baby," Williams said.
A tow truck came Wednesday afternoon to pick up the car that Mercer arrived in from the hospital.
Marvin Mercer was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison before being released on a $10,000 bond Wednesday night.