A New Mexico toddler described by her parents as their miracle baby has died after being left in a hot car for hours, allegedly by her sitter, officials said.
The road to parenthood for Demi Petrowski and Zachary Hasheme was paved with unimaginable loss. The couple had tried for children numerous times, but their efforts repeatedly ended in heartbreak.
“I had six miscarriages previously to having my daughter,” Petrowski told KOB4. “I remember praying every single day, nonstop.”
And then little Zariah entered their lives.
But the family of three had just two years together before tragedy struck again, when police said Zariah’s babysitter forgot the toddler in her car as temperatures on Tuesday soared to 91 degrees.
Tammie Brooks, 40, allegedly forgot to drop off Zariah at her day care and instead left her in her car seat as she ran an errand, Hobbs police said.
Police were called about 1:30 p.m., several hours after Zariah had been left in the hot vehicle.
Emergency responders pronounced Zariah dead at the scene.
“I would not wish this pain and this hurt upon my worst enemy,” Petrowski said.
The devastated mother delivered the news to her husband of their daughter’s death.
“I hear Demi screaming on the other line saying that Zariah’s dead and I didn’t know what to do,” Hasheme told KOB4. “I slammed on my brakes and pulled over.”
“I mean, you can forget to bring a pen with you, but it’s kind of hard to forget about a kid in the car,” he continued.
Brooks has been charged with abandonment or abuse of a child resulting in death, a first-degree felony, and is currently being held at the Hobbs City Jail pending arraignment. She is due in court Monday.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help offset the costs to put Zariah to rest.
“Baby Zariah was a beautiful sweet baby girl and we need help to have a funeral,” the creator of the fundraiser wrote.
As of Monday, more than $3,000 had been raised.
In the wake of their daughter’s death, Petrowski and Hasheme have issued a plea to parents and caretakers everywhere to be more mindful to avoid another preventable tragedy.
“Always look at the backseat of the car, and if there is a child in there or you hear a child screaming, please just, you know, help,” Demi said. “As for day care centers, if you know a child is not there at their appointed time, please contact the parents or someone on the emergency list right away.”