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Police: FL Toddler Dies After Being Left In Hot Car

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Megan Milanese
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Authorities say a 16-month-old north Florida girl died when her father left her in the car after forgetting to drop her off at day care.

It's the second hot car death reported in the nation in 2015, and the first in Florida. 

Columbia County Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call Tuesday afternoon and found the child was unresponsive.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement identified the child's mother as Wendy Kwon, an assistant state attorney, and her father as Young Kwon, an assistant public defender.

Both are employees of Florida's 3rd Judicial Circuit, which covers a number of counties in the northern part of the state.

FDLE says that the father discovered the child when he returned home from work in the afternoon and realized he'd forgotten to drop her at day care that morning.

Neither the public defender nor state attorney was available for comment.

Florida ranks the second-highest state with the most child vehicular heatstroke deaths.

Janette Fennell is the founder of, and offers this advice to caregivers to prevent this type of accident. 

"Just put something in the backseat, like your handbag or your employee badge, your cell phone, your lunch, something that's going to cause you to open that back door every time you arrive at your destination," Fennell said. "And we call that 'Look Before You Lock.' It's so simple, it doesn't cost a penny, and it only takes about three seconds."

She said vehicles can heat up quickly to deadly temperatures.

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.