ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orange County teacher was charged this week in the hot-car death of her friend’s 20-month-old son on September 11, deputies said Monday.
What You Need to Know
- Deputies: Dougkindra Wallace may have been distracted by a call
- Jace Leslie spent more than 7 hours in back seat of Nissan Altima
- Investigators said the heat index that day was about 105 degrees
- RELATED: Deputies: 1-Year-Old Baby Found Dead in Car Outside of Pine Hills Home ID'ed
Dougkindra Wallace, 34, of Maitland, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and neglect of a child in Jace Leslie’s death.
Wallace “provided a full confession as to her involvement in Jace’s death stemming from her leaving him in the vehicle for 7.5 hours while it was not running,” an Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrest warrant said.
She was booked into the Orange County Jail on Monday and released after posting bond.
Wallace, a third-grade teacher at Rolling Hills Elementary School in Apopka, is currently on administrative leave, Shari Bobinski, director of media relations for Orange County Public Schools, told Spectrum News.
The warrant said the boy’s mother paid Wallace $80 a month to take him to a daycare on Indian Hill Road on the days she couldn’t do it herself because of work. That arrangement began about 10 months ago.
According to records, Wallace picked up the toddler from his mother’s house and his 15-year-old sister put him in Wallace’s black Nissan Altima, behind the driver’s seat, at 7:30 a.m., September 11.
Wallace’s son was also in the back seat.
Wallace dropped off her son at his babysitter. Then, instead of driving to Jace’s daycare on Indian Hill Road, she drove to Rolling Hills Elementary School. She may have been distracted by a 31-minute call she made while on the road, deputies said.
She drove past Jace’s daycare and went directly to her school, deputies said. She entered the school just before 8 a.m. clocked out at 3:21 p.m.
First she drove to a student’s house to drop off a textbook. Then she went to Jace’s daycare, arriving at 3:40 p.m.
That’s when she found him in the back seat of her car, still buckled into his car seat.
“Witnesses described that rigor mortis had already set in and that Jace was so stiff it was very hard to remove him from his car seat,’’ the arrest report said.
Investigators said the heat index that day was about 105 degrees.