Update: Strangers donate thousands to Hurricane family after baby dies in hot car

Posted at 3:08 PM, Aug 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-04 16:16:33-04

UPDATE: Family, friends and strangers have raised tens of thousands of dollars for a Hurricane family after their 11-month-old baby died while left in a hot car last week.

The original $8,000 goal was raised to $12,000 after donations exceeded the goal in just the first day.

As of Monday afternoon, people have donated just over $14,000 of the $18,000 goal.

HURRICANE, Utah — Friends, family and neighbors have launched a fundraising effort to help the family of an 11-month-old girl who died after being left alone in a car in Hurricane on Friday.

The car was parked on a residential road near N. Main St. and 300 N., when a family member noticed the baby inside around 1 p.m.

Friends identified the girl as Skyah Suwyn, and Hurricane Police Department officials later confirmed the victim’s identity.

“We love the Suwyn family, and we are coming together during a tragic time of losing beautiful baby Skyah to show our love for them as friends, family, and community,” said a message posted on a GoFundMe page established to help the Suwyn family. A similar message was also posted on a Facebook page.

April Suwyn, Skyah Suwyn

April Suwyn, Skyah Suwyn

At the time of the baby’s death, the outside temperature in Hurricane was about 93 degrees, according the National Weather Service. However, temperatures inside a car with no air conditioning and the windows rolled up can exceed 140 degrees, according to many experts.

“It’s very difficult for the officers to deal with as well as the dispatchers as well as the family,” said Sgt. Brandon Buell with the Hurricane Police Department. “There were some people in the area there who had seen the child was in the vehicle and there was no forced entry that had to be made.”

When police arrived they say the infant was not breathing and unresponsive.

“Most of the streets are asphalt, so you got the heat coming off the road as well as the sun coming through the windows, so it can get hot very quickly,” Buell said.

A Life Flight helicopter landed at Hurricane Middle School. The girl was then transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. It was not immediately known how long the baby was left in the car.

“We determined that it was a substantial amount of time, and that’s a part of the investigation we are still trying to determine,” Buell said. “We have to be very cautious about leaving anything, kids, pets, in a vehicle like that because it doesn’t take very long at all. Within minutes that temperature can raise substantially.”

Officials said this is the first child in Utah to die this year due to being left in a hot car, and this is the 20th such death to occur in the United States this year.

As of Saturday, no criminal charges had been filed in this case.