A 28-year-old mother is facing second-degree murder charges in Mississippi, where authorities have accused her of leaving her 10-month-old son in a hot car, causing his death.
Elizabeth Marie Barhonovich, who lives in Vancleave, Mississippi, was arrested on Tuesday and is being held by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office without bond.
A statement from police alleges her 10-month-old son, Kash Barhonovich, died on June 14 “after being left in his mother’s vehicle for an unknown length of time while it was parked” outside her home “in the heat.”
Records show temperatures reached 90 degrees on the day Kash died. The heat index was 98 degrees.
The statement says an autopsy shows Kash’s death “is consistent with hyperthermia” — meaning his body temperature was dangerously high.
Barhonovich does not have an attorney and did not enter a plea when she appeared in court for her arraignment Wednesday.
After being shut off and parked in 80-degree weather, it typically takes an hour for a car to reach 123 degrees, according to NoHeatStroke.org.
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.
To remember that a child is in the car, they recommend keeping a stuffed animal in the child’s car seat on days when they’re not, and moving the stuffed animal to the front passenger seat when the child is there as a reminder. Other suggestions include placing purses or bags in the backseat by the child, or even one shoe so parents are assured to check before leaving the car.