The mother of a 3-year-old left in a hot car outside of his home for 45 minutes has been arrested and charged with his death.
37-year-old Maytee Martinez was booked for aggravated manslaughter Saturday. Her son, Jossue Caderno, was found clinging to life inside the family's Ford Explorer about 1:30 p.m. Friday, and died a short time later in hospital.
It's unclear what the circumstances were that lead to little Jossue being left inside the vehicle. A witness saw a man banging on the door of the house, desperate to alert the family to the boy's distress. Someone from inside the home called 911, and clearly anguished family members were performing CPR when emergency crews arrived.
Officials said that with an outside air temperature of about 91 degrees, the inside air temperature of the car could have been in excess of 130 degrees. Objects or a person inside the car in direct sunlight would have been significantly hotter.
Police hovered over the SUV outside the family’s pink trailer home in the University Lakes neighborhood near SW 131st Place and SW 10th Street in Southwest Miami-Dade, then towed the vehicle away.
Martinez could be seen outside her home in agony, police and Fire Rescue crews trying to console her. One neighbor told NBCMiami she heard the mother scream at about the time the toddler’s body was discovered.
"I'm the father! I'm the father!" screamed Josue’s biological father as he ran toward a Miami-Dade police officer, who drew a weapon at the approaching young man. The young father, who does not live with his child, was quickly taken to the side and consoled. Overrun by emotion, he nearly fainted and had to be treated by paramedics.
"It's sad. It’s very sad," said Adolfo Echevarria, who lives immediately next to the family. He and his wife know of the young boy but say they rarely saw him outside.
"Sad to hear that he's maybe gone. Right?” said Maggie Echevarria. “I can't believe she left him in the car. I mean, how can you leave your kid in the car. It's unbearable.”
Police detained and questioned several young men in Friday's incident, including a teenage son who lives at the home. He could be seen answering questions, clearly emotional. Along with others, he was later driven away in a police car caravan.
The boy's caretaker - the boyfriend of the mother - arrived at the scene. He, too, was overcome and told NBCMiami he wasn't at the home at the time but had taken care of the boy for about a year.
The boy's 21-year-old half-sister Sujey Leiva, who said she had not yet been able to speak with her mother, made a composed, eloquent defense of her family.
"[Our mother] would give the world for him. So that's why I'm trying to get the story straight. Because everyone saying that she neglected the child. That's her youngest. That's the baby. That's the one she gave the most attention to. So that's why I find that story hard to believe."
"That little kid was everything to me,” she said. “I'm still in shock."
It's the second time this month a child has died after being left in a hot car. A little girl in Delray Beach died after being left in a daycare center van for almost six hours. The van's driver has been charged with manslaughter.
Last week, a woman in Boca Raton left her child in a hot car as she shopped. The child survived.
Three children in the state have died after being left in hot cars this year.