Officials: Woman charged after 11-month-old child, small dog die in hot car

An 11-month-old child and a dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot vehicle, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office says.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:13 PM CDT

YORK COUNTY, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - Virginia officials have arrested a woman after an 11-month-old child and a dog died Tuesday after they were left in a hot vehicle.

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office said 40-year-old Kristen Danielle Graham was charged with one felony count of child neglect and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty after the child’s body was taken to a hospital.

The sheriff’s office said a man in his 80s showed up at the emergency room and told the staff he had a child’s body in his vehicle. When staff members went to the car, they found the child inside of a black trash bag.

Investigators said Graham had taken care of the child for about two days.

The child’s mother is a 17-year-old who lives in York County, Virginia.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, officials said Graham got a phone call from a friend who was caring for an elderly person in Newport News. Officials said Graham and her friend often take turns caring for that person.

While on the way to the location, Graham was reportedly asked to bring cigarettes by her friend.

The sheriff’s office said Graham then put the child in the back of her vehicle along with a small dog, drove to Newport News, and went to a 7-Eleven where she made a few purchases.

Graham then drove to the home in Newport News, where she stayed for a length of time, officials said.

Graham then returned to York County around 8 a.m. Tuesday, the investigation revealed. She rolled up the windows of the vehicle and turned the car off before leaving the child and the dog inside.

Graham later woke up to a phone call between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. She then went outside to check on the child. Inside the car, she found the child and the dog both dead.

Officials said the child was then put in a plastic bag and taken to the hospital.

Authorities said additional charges are possible as they await autopsy results.