An 11-month-old girl died Thursday after she was left inside a hot car in Homewood, Ala., for hours because her mother “had too many things on her mind.”
Gabriella Gi-Ny Luong's mother, Katie Luong, was thinking about other things as she drove to work Wednesday morning. The baby was asleep in her car seat, presumably in the backseat. Luong forgot to drop her off at the babysitter’s. She proceeded to work and left the baby in her SUV, completely forgetting that the infant was even there. She didn’t realize the baby was in the car the baby-sitter called her Wednesday afternoon.
Gabriella was found unconscious in her car seat. It was 91 degrees outside.
Police said they received a call at 1:30 p.m. about a baby locked in a vehicle. Gabriella was pronounced dead at the hospital. She had been in the car for roughly three and a half hours.
Luong was reportedly worried about the suicide of a coworker and busy planning the baby’s first birthday party for Sunday.
"She had too many things on her mind," family friend Diana Huynh told AL.com. "She was traumatized over her employee's death because she's never known anyone who has died, and there were so many people calling her yesterday about the birthday party."
Alabama residents have been leaving cards, flowers, and gifts in memory of the baby outside of her mother's shop.
In 2013, 21 children have died after being left in hot cars, according to a report from the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University. Since 1998, 582 children have died in hot vehicles.
"Remind parents to check their backseat before they exit their car and think twice before they ... when they drop off a child or pick up a child and remember where the child is," said Homewood Police Sgt. Andrew Didcoct.