Mother charged with murder after leaving child in a hot car, sheriff says

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:39 PM EDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC/Gray News) – A woman was charged with second-degree murder after being accused of leaving her 6-month-old daughter in a hot car for five hours, according to authorities.

The baby’s mother, Ivy Lee, 22, flagged down an off-duty deputy Sunday afternoon and told him her daughter, Carissa Lewis, wasn’t breathing, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kayla Vincent said.

The off-duty deputy and another deputy who was patrolling the area performed life-saving measures on the baby.

Carissa was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her preliminary cause of death is heat-related, KPLC reported.

Lee originally told detectives that the child was not in her care. She later told detectives that she left the child in her SUV for around five hours at her workplace, Vincent said.

“She stated that she initially left the car running, but a co-worker later told her the car was later running, and she turned her vehicle off,” Chief Deputy Gary Guillory said.

She told authorities she thought the baby was sleeping.

“Ultimately she stated that she left the child in her car while she went to work from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Guillory said.

The sheriff’s office said the Department of Children and Family Services has had prior contact with Lee after she was accused of abandoning another child in a hot car in 2019.

“Yes, DCFS was involved in the case. They were called out, but during the course of the investigation, the mother voluntarily gave us that baby before the state had to get involved,” Guillory said.

Lee’s sister, Ashley Lee, has custody of her first child, Avery.

She said her sister’s relationship with the family and her children was strained. She said they tried to help with Carissa and encouraged Ivy Lee to finish her classes with family services.

Carissa’s father said he was unaware of Ivy Lee’s previous criminal charge concerning her other child, KPLC reported.

Ivy Lee is being held in lieu of a $1.2 million bond.

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