BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man whose 8-month-old daughter died after being left in a hot car for about two hours was released from jail late Wednesday following his arrest on a negligent homicide charge.
Marvin Mercer, 31 of Zachary, was freed from jail on $10,000 bond, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in an email.
Mercer accidentally left his daughter, Raylee Mercer, strapped in a car seat after he arrived at work at a Baton Rouge school Wednesday morning, according to a police report. Mercer told investigators he was supposed to take her to day care but instead followed his normal routine and drove to work, leaving the windows up and doors closed when he parked his car. The one-page report didn't offer details about his routine.
Mercer found the infant in the backseat of his car during his lunch break and drove her to a hospital, where she died, the police report says.
Mercer later told investigators that he forgot the child was in the backseat until he heard a coughing noise when he returned to his car about 11:30 a.m. and saw her "unresponsive," with fluid coming from her nose.
Mercer is the head baseball coach at Madison Preparatory Academy and teaches algebra at the charter school, according to principal Alisa Welch.
"This is difficult for us. This is more difficult for them," Welch said of Mercer's family.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Beau Clark said his office was performing an autopsy on the girl Thursday morning. Clark didn't immediately release any information about the possible cause or manner of her death.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said in a text message Thursday that he didn't know if Mercer has an attorney representing him.
The temperature in Baton Rouge was 89 degrees about noon on Wednesday. The police report said temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach about 40 degrees to 50 degrees above the ambient temperature within an hour.
Janette Fennell, founder and president of the Kansas-based group KidsAndCars.Org, said the girl was the 11th child in the U.S. to die this year after being left in a hot car.