Yesterday we brought you the tragic story of a 2-year-old girl who died after her mother left her in a locked car for eight hours as the temperature approached 100 degrees outside -- and came close to 150 degrees inside.
The mother, Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby, had changed her daily routine that morning before going to work as an assistant principal at a middle school in Ohio. Instead of dropping off her daughter with the babysitter, she went to buy donuts for her fellow teachers, then went to work -- forgetting that her daughter was still asleep in the back seat.
Police brought Nesselroad-Slaby in for questioning after the incident, and her pain and guilt are apparent, as this video shows (it's tough to watch). WATCH VIDEO
Although police questioned Nesselroad-Slaby, Clermont County prosecutor Don White decided not to seek an indictment, because Ohio law stipulates that "reckless conduct" must be present. Mr. White said that although leaving the child was "a substantial lapse of due care," it did not meet the definition of "reckless conduct."
A lot of people have had a strong reaction to this story. Some believe that she should be tried, that this was criminal negligence. Others say that having to deal with the accidental death of her daughter is punishment enough. (You can vote on todayshow.com.)
I'm certainly no expert on Ohio law, but it seems like common sense that this woman -- while maybe not acting "recklessly" -- acted so negligently that it led to the death of her child. And while we can certainly feel sorry for her over the loss of her child, she was responsible for endangering the life of a child.
In the past 10 years, there have been about 340 heat-related deaths of children trapped in cars. Charges were filed in about half of those deaths. Of the cases that have gone to trial, 81 percent resulted in convictions or guilty pleas, half of which brought jail sentences.