Jury convicts Florida woman in baby’s hot car death

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A Florida woman on Friday was convicted in the hot car death of her infant daughter more than 2 1/2 years ago.

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Megan Elizabeth Dauphin, 32, of Panama City, was found guilty of aggravated manslaughter of a child, WJHG-TV reported. She was taken into custody and ordered to be held without bail, according to Bay County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.

Dauphin was convicted in the Sept. 2, 2020, death of her 7-week-old daughter, McKinlee Grace Garner, according to WMBB-TV.

According to prosecutor Peter Overstreet, Dauphin took her daughter to a store to buy cigarettes, the television station reported. When she returned home, Dauphin allegedly forgot to remove the child from her vehicle.

Megan Dauphin’s stepdaughter testified on Tuesday that she had asked where the infant was, WMBB reported. The stepdaughter said that Dauphin told her the baby was in the living room, according to the television station.

Told that the child was not in that part of the home, Dauphin ran from her bedroom to her Tahoe truck and found her daughter, who was already dead, WMBB reported.

When police responded to Dauphin’s home, they discovered that the child had been left in the vehicle for several hours, WJHG reported. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to court records, investigators said they found drug paraphernalia in Dauphin’s home that was consistent with the use of methamphetamine, according to the television. A blood analysis showed that Dauphin was under the influence of the drug on the day her daughter died.

Dauphin took the stand on Thursday and called the death of her daughter an accident, WMBB reported. She told the court she believed that the baby was sleeping.

She told the court that she thinks about her daughter’s death “every day. Every day,” according to the television station.

Dauphin will be sentenced on May 3, WHJG reported. She faces up to 30 years in prison.