The Fine She Received For Fatally Leaving a Child in an SUV for 6 Hours on a 97-Degree Day Was Way Too Low

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Hot car deaths, perhaps the most glaringly obvious example of parental neglect, have become increasingly common shock value headlines. This story, though, is going viral becasue of the sentence in one recent case. A four year old was left in a hot car for six hours. The girl did not survive. The woman who left her there, though, will face no punishment for her role in the girl’s death.

Brittany Renee Borgess, 30 left her boyfriend’s daughter in a car in July of 2016. It was 97 in Pennsylvania, where they were. Now Borgess has been acquitted.

She faced trial involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment. The jury found her innocent.

“Senior Judge Dudley N Anderson found her guilty of the summary charge of leaving a child unattended in a car and fined her a meager $25,” The Daily Mail writes.

Samaria Motyka, the girl who died from the exposure to the heat, was well represented by family and friends at the trial. When the verdict was announced, the onlookers erupted. Some were so vocal that they had to be escorted from the courtroom.

So what happened, exactly? “On the morning of July 22, 2016, Borgess dropped her two-year-old son Isaac off at day care in Williamsport and then drove to work,” Daily Mail writes, “forgetting to bring Samaria to her own day care along the way.”

“The then-28-year-old parked her SUV at the rear of a downtown business where there was no shade, leaving four-year-old buckled into a booster seat in the back.”

“Six and a half hours later, Borgess discovered Samaria unconscious on the floor of the SUV. She had climbed out of her booster seat to the front seat.”

During that time in the sun, Samaria would have been exposed to temperatures as high as 120 degrees. When the unconscious girl arrived at the hospital, her internal temperature was 110.

How Borgess avoided conviction is still a matter of debate. Her attorney argued that she didn’t “knowingly forget” that the girl was in the car.

Peter Campana argued that Borgess suffered from chronic sleep deprivation and was stressed about her upcoming wedding to Samaria’s father, William Motyka.

The question, then, became one of forgetfulness versus criminal intent.

First Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade told jurors that it was “absurd to leave a child to die in a car.” He told the court to ignore the element of forgetfulness.

They did not. They ultimately sided with the argument that Borgess unknowingly forgot that a four-year-old was in her back seat.