Mom of toddler who died in hot car wants justice after charges dropped in case
ORLANDO, Fla. - The mother of a baby who died after being left in a hot car is outraged after charges were dropped against the person accused of the act.
"I said, 'Have a great day Jace!' at school and, 'I love you buddy!'" explained Makia Wallace, describing her last words to her 21-month-old son, Jace Leslie.
He never made it to school back on September 11. Wallace said she paid her friend to take him to daycare, but instead, deputies said Jace died inside a hot car.
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"My baby was in that vehicle and because of someone’s negligence. It cost my baby’s life."
Wallace said she has known her friend since high school and trusted her to watch over her son, but after his death, Wallace wanted justice and was shocked after receiving a call about the charges being dropped
"The State Attorney said, 'I hate that I’m the one bringing you this news...the State Attorney’s Office is not willing to file charges."
Court records show the case was “not suitable for prosecution.”
"It caught me by surprise," said Wallace. "I was not expecting."
According to an arrest report, investigators said the woman provided a full confession as to her involvement in the death stemming from her leaving him in the vehicle for over seven hours while it was not running. They said it got up to 105 degrees inside the car. Deputies said she was on the phone and likely distracted.
"Accountability needs to happen. We just can’t go around saying we made a mistake and leaving a child, it’s costing a life," Wallace said.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala released a statement, which read, "This is an extremely sad and tragic case. Yet, while the facts are horrific, under Florida law we were unable to proceed with criminal prosecution. Although the Defendant clearly owed the victim a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the victim’s death — this is the definition of simple negligence, a tort — not a crime."
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Wallace, who is a corrections officer, said she is contacting Governor Ron DeSantis, asking for a different state attorney to be put in charge of the case.
"I’m trusting that they’ll do the right thing. I’m seeking justice for Jace. And I’m being told that this was a mistake. My baby is not a mistake."
Wallace has a reminder to anyone with a child in the car, adding, "It doesn’t take but a few seconds to just check."
As for Jace, her heart aches over his death.
"His smile, his energy, that was one sweet little boy."
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