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Mother Is Charged With Murder After Girl, 3, Left Strapped in Car

October 04, 2002|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — A woman has been charged with murder after allegedly leaving her 3-year-old daughter strapped in a car while at work on the first day of a new job.

Ashante Burgess, who had Down syndrome, died Wednesday shortly after arriving at a hospital, where doctors said her temperature was 108.

Nakia Burgess, 28, also has been charged with cruelty to a child. The woman's attorney, Phinia Aten, said her client left Ashante in the car because she couldn't find affordable day care.

The attorney said Ashante was playing with a chalkboard the first time Burgess checked on her. Burgess found her daughter unconscious around noon, less than 90 minutes after arriving at her job as a transcriptionist.

"She is extremely remorseful about what happened. This was her only child," Aten said. "At this point, her life has no meaning to her."

Burgess wept during a brief hearing Thursday and was placed on suicide watch at Atlanta-Fulton County Jail.

The high temperature in Atlanta was 85 on Wednesday, but temperatures inside closed cars can climb much higher. The windows were open slightly, but the car was exposed to the sun, police said.

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