Efforts ramp up to prevent childhood death by heat stroke

HARTSVILLE, S. C. (WMBF) For the first time we're hearing from the Hartsville father whose daughter died after being left in a hot car

"She was the light of my life. There wasn't a day that'd go by that she didn't smile," Amanda Goyeneche.

"There are something's that need 100 percent of our focus all the time with no excuses and that is our children," David Gray said.

Amanda Goyeneche and David Gray are the parents of 13-month-old Sophia Goyeneche –Gray; she died after being left in her father's hot car for several hours.

David Gray is facing charges for the toddler's death, but now a month later, both parents have decided to turn their grief into fuel to make sure no one else experiences this type of pain.

"And I wake up each morning with the same nightmare, which no parent should have," Goyeneche said.

"This is tragic for both families, for both sides of the families the mother and the father and we are trying to get through it, but also raise awareness," Gray said.

On Friday, Sophia's parents took the first step toward raising awareness.

A meeting at Hartsville City Hall provided a chance for this new group to brainstorm and come up with ways to avoid another childhood death.

State organizations like South Carolina Children's Trust gave the group tips and lead it into deep discussion.

David Gray says he would really like the new found group to help other parents who have had children die after being left in hot cars.

"I want to be there for the other parents too. Um… I just want to make sure that they know that they weren't bad parents, these types of accidents do happen," Gray said.

Gray says he will forever carry the guilt, grief and loss of his daughter Sophia, but he says he and the girl's mother will make sure their daughter did not die in vain.