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A Wedding Day Ends In Tragedy . . .

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Mirlande Jean-Baptiste had a very big day ahead of her. It was her wedding day, and like most brides-to-be, she had so many errands, so many loose ends that needed to be tied up, to ensure that the momentous day went according to plan.

The first thing on Ms. Jean-Baptiste’s list that day, accompanied by her sister, was to drop off her son and several other children, at the house of a family friend.

Unbeknownst to Jean-Baptiste, her 4-year-old son never got out of the car.

While Jean-Baptiste was on her way to the nail salon, 19-year-old Emanuella Castor, who later that evening was to be a bridesmaid at the wedding, naturally assumed that the boy’s mother had taken him with her when she didn’t see him among the other children that were dropped off.

Ms. Jean-Baptiste unaware that her son, Gregory was in the Ford Expedition she had been driving—locked the SUV and went inside the salon to have her nails done.

She and her sister returned to the SUV three hours later.

Ms. Jean-Baptiste became hysterical at the sight of her son sprawled out on the seat of the SUV. While her sister called 911, Jean-Baptiste, who works as a nurse, tried frantically to resuscitate her son.

Paramedics arrived and tried to revive the 4-year-old, but their attempts were in vain . . . he was pronounced dead on arrival at Palms West hospital.

Although the temperature outside where the SUV had been parked was around 89 degrees Fahrenheit, experts speculated that the temperature inside the vehicle could have been as high as 139 degrees Fahrenheit.

The medical examiner said that Gregory Cesar’s body temperature had reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

Following the death of her son, the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s wanted to get Ms. Jean-Baptiste’s account of what happened, but were unable to do so because the distraught mother had to be sedated.

She broke her silence on Monday, July 21.

Overcome with anguish, she called her son’s death a horrible accident. She thought that Gregory was in a family friend’s car with four other children.

The day that began with so much promise, ended up being a day of mourning.

Guests, who had arrived to celebrate a wedding, were told by Pastor Wendell Charles of the Elected Church of God in Lake Worth, to make their way to the hospital.

Family members still attired in their wedding suits and gowns were overcome with emotions in the Palms West hospital waiting room, when they heard that Gregory Cesar died and lamented . . .

How could this happen?

Why did it happen?

Perhaps, 4-year-old Gregory wanted to be with his mother. He could have easily hid in the third row of the SUV. If he didn’t make a sound, his mother would not [from the disastrous turn of events] have known her son was back there.

Mirlande Jean-Baptiste life has been irrevocably changed.

She now has to live with the agony of knowing that her child died in the sweltering heat.

But unaware that she had locked him in the Ford Expedition, Ms. Jean-Baptiste was powerless to help her son when he needed her the most.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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One Response

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  1. Oh that is so sad. 4 can be a precocious age and you are correct, in a large vehicle, there is a good possibility he could have been “hiding from mommy” or even fallen asleep. Such a sad event, especially on a day that was supposed to be so joyous. I certainly hope the authorities don’t do something stupid like attempt to charge the mother. She has suffered enough, it was obviously an accident.

    TeamKlemm

    July 25, 2008 at 12:07 am


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