A 2-year-old girl died in a hot car after her parents allegedly left her there, and now, her parents could face decades in prison.
The girl died of heat exposure after she was left in the back of a car for hours after a party in September.
Authorities say the family got home around midnight and the girl was still alive at 10 a.m. the next day, taking cell phone video in the car.
“Parents have a duty to protect their children,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a written statement obtained by the paper on Dec. 21. “And these parents will forever live with their child’s horrible death and suffer the consequences of their actions.”
Olga was also charged with tampering with a body, the Chronicle reported. Court records indicated that she changed her story regarding what happened to the child.
She first told investigators that her family attended a Sept. 15 party, and the whole family fell asleep at the same time inside their home after helping her intoxicated husband to get inside, the paper reported.
When she woke up at around noon, she said her daughter was hot. An hour later, according to her account, the parents called 911 because their cellphone was charging and couldn’t gain access to another phone, the Chronicle reported.
But officials said they have recovered video footage and photos captured via the couple’s cellphones taken as early as 10:40 a.m. that same day, contradicting Olga’s account that she woke up at 12 p.m. The photos and video were apparently shot by the child while inside the vehicle.
The photos showed the inside of the vehicle. In the video, the girl could be heard speaking in distress, investigators told the paper. The video also showed scissors lodged between the door and the passenger seat. Police, meanwhile, found one of the girl’s sandals in the driveway.
A Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigator said that they “listened to the video … (and) could hear what appeared to be a female child’s voice in discomfort,” reported Click2Houston.
In a subsequent interview, police spoke to Olga, who said she left Alicia in the vehicle overnight. Then, she and her husband both fell asleep. It wasn’t until 12 p.m. when she woke up, realizing that her daughter was still in the hot car.
After finding her daughter unresponsive, Olga splashed water on her and attempted to perform CPR before calling the police at 2:55 p.m., suggesting the couple waited for some time before calling emergency responders.
Angel Esquivel-Blanco said he didn’t know the girl was in the car, saying his wife left her there.
The couple could face as many as 20 years in prison if convicted.
According to Click2Houston, Angel Esquivel-Blanco is a Mexican national. His immigration status is not clear.
Both parents have since posted bond and are out of jail, reported The Associated Press.
Kids and Cars, a website dedicated to raising awareness about hot car deaths, says 38 children on average die each year from heat-related deaths after being trapped in hot vehicles. In 2018, 49 children died in vehicular heatstroke incidents. The website notes that the inside of cars on a warm day can be significantly hotter than outside.