YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) –The heat wave may be easing in KELOLAND, but the dangerous weather took its toll this week and played a role in the deaths of two young children.
A one-year-old died after being left in a day care van in Omaha Monday and another child was found unresponsive in a vehicle in Yankton on Wednesday. Tonight, the Yankton community is heartbroken over the child lost inside a hot car.
“The call came in on August 23rd at 5:18pm to the area near 300 W 25th Street for an unresponsive child,” Commander Monty Rothenberger said.
An emergency call that came in on one of the hottest days of the year.
“It was 100 degrees and they said the heat index was 110,” Rothenberger said.
Police say the child was left inside a vehicle for an extended period of time.
“Yankton County EMS and the officers tried to revive the child but were unable to,” Rothenberger said.
Yankton police are waiting to release more details about what happened until an autopsy can be performed, still the entire community and first responders are shaken.
“This is rare to our community; I’ve been in law enforcement for 24 years and this is the first I’ve ever heard of it,” Rothenberger said.
“It’s definitely heart breaking, not something you’d expect to hear,” Yankton mom Abby Schmidt said.
Abby Schmidt is a mom of two littles herself and knows how fast paced life can be.
“I can see it, you’re running to get in the car, make sure you have all the stuff you need in your car and you’re moving, moving, moving,” Schmidt said.
She says this tragedy is a grim safety reminder.
“It really just opened my eyes to thinking about, before I take my next step, what do I need to do?” Schmidt said. “Do something that is going to completely throw you off before you get out of the car, so when you step out what am I forgetting so you know to do a double check before you move on with your fast paced life.”
A warning Yankton Police hope will make a difference in the future.
“Hopefully it never happens again,” Rothenberger said. “For the family, friends, first responders…you never forget these experiences, if officers have kids of their own, it makes them really, really difficult.”
The Yankton Police Department is still investigating the child’s death and plans to release more details about the case following the autopsy.