A Florida family is seeking justice after their 10-month-old was left in a hot car for five hours and passed away.
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The Paige Family Details The 10-Month-Old’s Tragic Passing
The family of Ariya Paige was preparing to celebrate her first birthday on September 4. However, due to tragic circumstances, they have now been left to mourn the infant’s passing.
On July 19, 2023, the child was picked up from her home by her babysitter, Rhonda Jewell. Jewell drove Paige to a separate house where she would babysit two additional children.
However, when she arrived at the residence, the woman failed to take the 10-month-old inside. Jewell allegedly left the child with the vehicle’s windows closed and doors locked for five hours in 98-degree heat.
Pamela Paige, the infant’s grandmother, spoke exclusively with Justin Carter for TSR Investigates and recounted the events surrounding her grandaughter’s passing. Paige explained that her daughter-in-law, Brooke Paige, called her in a panic after she arrived at the home, and her daughter was nowhere to be found.
“Brooke was like, ‘Where’s Ariya?'” the infant’s uncle, Devon Paige, explained. “And she pushed past Brooke and ran to the car, and that’s when Brooke realized that she left Ariya in the car since she picked her up that morning.”
According to the arrest report, the Fire and Rescue crew determined that the temperature inside the truck reached 133 degrees.
The Florida Family Seeks Justice For Ariya Paige
The babysitter has reportedly been charged with aggravated manslaughter in relation to the passing of Ariya Paige. Jewell reportedly explained that she had become preoccupied while babysitting the other children. However, she also admitted that she “assumed the child was asleep.” Then, she added that she planned on later returning to the vehicle to “retrieve” the infant.
Despite this, Jewell added that she ultimately “forgot the child was there.” Upon investigation, TSR learned that the children babysat by Jewell on that day were white and found to be safe.
According to the Paige family, the Baker County Sheriff’s Department refused to “go public” with the incident despite the babysitter’s admittance of fault. Additionally, the family alleges that Baker County Sheriff Scotty Rhoden “made sure to mention” that Jewell may not be heavily punished for Ariya Paige’s passing.
“He made sure to mention that she probably would not get a lot of time,” Devin Paige explained to Justin Carter. “He was very clear to mention to us that, at best, she would probably get probation. Even though he has no control over her sentencing, he made very sure to let us know not to set our expectations very high…”
Additionally, it has been learned that a judge granted Jewell an appearance waiver, allowing the woman to miss her arraignment. Jewell has also been released from jail on $25,000 bond.
The Paige family is now seeking justice to make sure Rhonda Jewell and others who commit similar crimes of negligence with children are held accountable.