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N.M. toddler, forgotten, dies in hot van

July 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM   |   Comments

ALBUQUERQUE, July 15 (UPI) -- A 2-year-old New Mexico girl died after being left for several hours in a van where temperatures reached 128 to 135 degrees, officials said.

Stephanie Pinon, 27, the child's mother, was charged with child abuse resulting in death of Jahzel Pinon Wednesday in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Pinon has no criminal history, police said, but Sgt. Mark Kmatz of the Bernalillo County sheriff's office said there have been earlier incidents reported concerning the mother to the state Children, Youth and Families Department, although the nature of those reports was unclear.

The child died in the hospital after she was discovered in the van in a parking lot of the Early Childhood Learning Center at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute.

In a 911 call released late Wednesday, Pinon can be heard in the background crying and screaming as a worker at the center spoke with a dispatcher.

"I'd never hurt my baby, never," she yelled. Pinon said she forgot the child was in the vehicle.

Pinon was at the center to take her 4-year-old child to an appointment. She checked into the center at 9:30 a.m. and left about noon, when she went outside and found the toddler, Kmatz said.

Pinon's 4-year old was released to the Children, Youth and Families Department.

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