Parents of Florence toddler left in hot car charged

akflanagan@thestate.comJuly 10, 2014 

— The parents of a toddler who died after being left in a hot car have been charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

Joe Allen Kennedy, 57, and Ruthene Hawkins Kennedy, 44, were arrested Wednesday, according to Florence County Sheriff’s deputies.

It’s at least the third incident in recent months in which South Carolina parents have been charged after children were left in hot cars.

Deputies said the Kennedys took their 13-month-old to a hospital May 25 after the child had been left in a hot vehicle for about an hour and a half. The child was found sweating profusely and appeared to be in seizure, the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said.

The child was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and placed on a ventilator, deputies said.

The child, who was not identified, died May 28.

The Kennedys were released from the Florence County Detention Center Wednesday on $2,500 personal recognizance bonds.

Two other incidents within the past week also led to charges against parents.

A York County mother was cited with cruelty to children after police said she left her three children, ages 1, 2 and 3, in an unlocked car outside a Rock Hill grocery store Monday.

Logan Cox, a 3-year-old Lancaster boy, died Sunday after suffering from severe heat stroke last Wednesday after he climbed into a car and became trapped.

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