Lakewood mother pleads guilty to leaving 21-month old in hot car for 2.5 hours
The Lakewood mother who left her child in a hot car for more than two hours with the engine turned off, has plead guilty to Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced on Friday.
When Chaya Shurkin, 27, is sentenced on July 23, the State will recommend the Judge sentence her to a term of probation.
On May 6 of 2019, Lakewood Police responded to a home in town for a report of a child in distress.
First responders performed life saving measures on the toddler who was then brought to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood where the child later died.
The investigation run by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit along with Lakewood Police and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, learned that Shurkin left the child alone in her car for about two-and-a-half hours with the car turned off....in the heat.
The Ocean County Medical Examiner later confirmed that the cause of the child’s death was exposure to increased environmental temperatures and the manner of death was determined to be accidental.
Townsquare Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the high temperature on May 6, 2019 was 72 degrees.
“Sadly, the loss of this child was totally avoidable. Ms. Shurkin lost a child as a consequence of her own inattention; this is a burden she must carry with her for the rest of her life, which amounts to a far greater punishment than any sentence the State could possibly recommend to a Court,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in a statement. “It should be noted that the State’s recommendation for probation is consistent with the manner in which the majority of these dreadful types of cases have been handled in Ocean County, as well as throughout this state and nation, and it represents an acknowledgement that the loss of a child - under these horrific circumstances – is tantamount to a life-sentence in and of itself."
Prosecutor Billhimer said Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento handled the case on behalf of the State.
Previous reporting by Dan Alexander was used in this article.