*This is one Father’s Day, a Baltimore, Maryland man will never forget. What happened on this day will set the tone for the rest of Wilbert Carter’s days. It also brings to the fore the responsibility and accountability of a parent, even when that parent feels they need a break to celebrate a day especially designed for them.
Being a parent doesn’t allow for any off-duty time.
Carter, 31, made a dreadful decision on Father’s Day; when he decided to leave his 2-year-old daughter, Leasia Carter, in the car so that he could go drinking with his buddies.
The temperatures on this day was nearly 90-degrees. And that was outside, so inside the car it reached sweltering heights.
Leasia was left strapped to her car seat and when her father left the bar, drunk, he got in the car and drove straight home; never looking back and fell into bed.
The child, who police say was inside the hot car for at least 16 hours, wasn’t even thought about until the next day when she was discovered.
A police report details that Carter returned to his home at around 7 a.m., went straight to sleep, and forgot about his daughter until around 4 p.m.
By the time officials arrived on the scene at around 5:30 p.m., they immediately rushed her to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. She was in critical condition, according to WBAL-TV 11 and died shortly thereafter.
The father had allegedly woke up from his drunken stupor and realizing his daughter wasn’t there, contacted his mother and aunt about her whereabouts. They reportedly told him that they thought he had taken her to his sisters, according to court documents.
You can only image the horror he felt as his memory started to clear, and he realized he had left the little girl in the hot car overnight.
And that’s where he found her, in his car, which was parked down the street, but she was already unresponsive, according to reports.
“He’s walking down the street. He’s crying,” Raven Jenkins, who witnessed the moment Carter found his daughter, told WBAL. “He’s got a little kid in his hand, a lady comes out of the house or walks out the street and they just start screaming.”
“The father went home at some point in time last night. This afternoon when he woke up, he discovered that his child wasn’t there,” Baltimore Police Maj. Stanley Brandford said. “Right now, we know that the child was inside of that vehicle sometime (Sunday), but for certain we know that the child was left there all day (Monday). Of course with the temps and everything, I’m pretty sure that the child cannot survive in that type of condition.”
“It never crossed my mind that something like that would happen,” said Teresa Moon, Leasia’s great aunt. “He loved his girls, he loved his girls. He really loved his girls. He’s grieving hard. It’s just a tragic thing that happened.”
Investigators say the little girl had suffered second-degree burns by the time she was taken from the car. She had been inside the car without ventilation–no windows were left open.
Her father was arrested and taken to the Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Facility and charged with child abuse and homicide. It is unclear from online court records if he has an attorney, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Carter had a previous arrest for attempted murder in 2005 but he was released after those charges were dropped.
He remained in custody as of Tuesday.