3-year-old dies after being left in car in triple-digit heat: Visalia police

Visalia police say a woman was arrested Thursday after she left her 3-year-old daughter in a car for three hours amid triple-digit heat.

Video Transcript

BRIAN JOHNSON: Well, Graciela and Warren, we've been talking about this heat wave all week, and we all know how hot it can get inside of a parked car. Well, Visalia police say this little girl wasn't in that car for just a few minutes, but rather 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours. Meanwhile, they say her mother was just feet away working at an illegal marijuana grow. A three-year-old Visalia girl is dead after Visalia police say her mother left her inside this car for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours on Thursday. Sergeant Mike Verissimo says the car's doors were closed and its windows were up. It was at least 100 degrees at the time. The girl, identified as Jessica Campos, died at Kaweah Health.

MIKE VERISSIMO: It's a complete tragedy. Our heart goes out to Jessica. We have to remember it's-- it's getting to be the time of year where it's 100 degrees every day. It gets even hotter than that quickly inside a locked vehicle. Our kids have to be our priority. We have to remember them and take their best interests at heart.

ELENA BARBA: It's just heartbreaking, yeah. We were hoping that the-- whoever they took [INAUDIBLE] were going to be OK, but.

BRIAN JOHNSON: Elena Barba lives across the street. She also has a three-year-old daughter, and on Friday, wondered how this could have happened.

ELENA BARBA: Accidents happen, but, you know, to-- I don't know how she can forget a kid in the car.

BRIAN JOHNSON: While Jessica suffered in the car's back seat, police say her mother, 28-year-old Eustajia Mojica, was at this home working at an illegal marijuana grow. Police located 150 plants out back, plus 475 pounds of processed cannabis inside. Four other adults were home, and all were arrested on child endangerment charges because another four children were found at the grow house too. Mojica also faces child endangerment charges as well as involuntary manslaughter for the death of her daughter.

MIKE VERISSIMO: We've looked into and we're doing a more detailed study still-- it's ongoing-- to document what exactly the temperature was at any given point between that 2 and 1/2 and 3 hour time frame.

BRIAN JOHNSON: Detectives have spoken to Mojica, but police aren't disclosing what she said. She's being held at the Tulare County Adult Pre-Trial Facility. And the other children who were found at the house have been turned over to child welfare services. They include two nine-month-olds. Live in Visalia tonight, Brian Johnson, "ABC 30 Action News."