Police Say a Running Car (with Heater on) Saved this Infants’ Life

Brittany Russell

*While her mother lay slumped over the steering wheel dead, with the car still running, an infant of 6-months-old lay in the back seat.


Police say if it werent for the heater still on in the running car, she would be dead too.

No one knows what led to the death of 29-year-old Brittany Russell; who was found fatally wounded by a single gunshot in the parking lot of Twin Manor Apartments in Dayton, Ohio. Her body was discovered on Wednesday.

Russell, who is not the custodial parent of her daughter, Haven Edwards, had not been given permission by the child’s father to take the little girl. She did manage, however, to convince the baby-sitter to let the child go.

Chris Edwards, the baby’s father, spoke with Russell on the phone while the child was in her possession. He said she told him that she would return by 7 p.m.

But he had to phone again, when she didn’t show up, and the phone call ended with Russell promising to get back later that evening.

Again, she was a no-show.

When a third call brought no response at all from Russell, Edwards called the police.

This was at 5:30 a.m.

By the time police located Russell and her baby in her car, it was 9:30 a.m.

A police investigation thus far shows Russell has no history in the city. Police have yet to confirm exactly why she was there.

To see her daughter, perhaps?

While this is a heartbreaking incident, there is one good thing to come out of it: the baby girl is alive.

“Thank goodness the car was left running with the heater on,” said Lt. Andrew Booher, commander of Dayton Police Homicide Unit. “I think that had a huge impact on ensuring the baby survived.”

Dayton and Middletown police have partnered to investigate the young woman’s death, and they are speaking with people close to Russell to assist.

The Dayton Police Dept. leads the investigation.

The dad initially told police this wasn’t Russell’s typical behavior and he was worried about her safety. Russell had a drug history he told police, according to the news release. Booher said police were told Russell had been clean for a while. No drugs were found in the car with her.

Police did not say where the gunshot was (her head?), of if a gun was found in the car. So even a guess at suicide is impossible at this point. But two things on that. A running car might suggest SOMEONE ELSE shot Brittany as she was about to leave. Then again, because the brake was apparently on, could a still-running car suggest a suicidal “noncustodial” parent that intentionally kept the heater on to save her child.

Here’s another thing:

Why then, you might ask, would a mother planning to kill herself, go and get her baby, then leave her unharmed?

To this I say:

She wanted to be found, but did not think anyone would miss her. But they would miss (and come look for) the baby.

There is my own investigative mind. What say you?

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