Zachary Hasheme goes to bed staring at the empty crib where his 2-year-old daughter used to sleep.
“I'm heartbroken," Hasheme, 28, told TODAY Parents.
On Sept. 17, Zariah Hasheme died after being left in a hot car in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Police arrested the toddler’s babysitter, Tammie Brooks, and charged her with abandonment or abuse of a child resulting in death.
“Brooks was supposed to drop the child off at daycare; however, drove to her place of employment instead,” according to a statement on the Hobbs Police Department Facebook page.
Zariah was left unattended in her car seat for hours as temperatures soared to 91 degrees. Brooks, 41, only realized her error when she returned to her vehicle hours later.
Emergency responders pronounced Zariah dead at the scene.
Hasheme and his ex-fiancee, Demi Petrowski, suffered three devastating miscarriages before welcoming Zariah.
“She was our miracle baby,” Petrowski, 27, told TODAY Parents. “I feel like I’m having a really bad dream and one day I will wake up and hear Zariah calling for me to come and get her ready for school.”
Like Hasheme, Petrowski can’t bring herself to touch Zariah’s belongings. “Her toys are where she left them,” Petrowski revealed. “I have her fingerprints all over my TV stand. I’ll never clean them.”
Petrowski, who describes herself as a “helicopter mom,” only allowed a handful of people to look after Zariah.
“It was hard for me to trust anybody with my daughter,” Petrowski said. But she trusted her father’s ex-wife.
“Tammie raised my brothers well,” Petrowski told TODAY Parents. “I don’t understand how this could happen. How do you just leave a child in a car? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Zariah was the 42nd child to die in a hot car this year, according to KidsAndCars.org. Eighty-seven percent of vehicular heat stroke victims are under age 3, the site reported.
Although it was around 91 degrees the day Zariah passed away, temperatures inside a vehicle rise approximately 40 degrees within one hour, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
KidsandCars.org is lobbying for a bill requiring all new vehicles to have child alert safety systems to protect children and animals left unattended in vehicles.