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Alexandria Woman Charged in Death of Baby Who Died in Hot Car

Police say death was unintentional, mother realized she had left baby in car when she went to pick up another child at daycare.

Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez is charged in connection with unintentional death of baby. Photo: Arlington Police Department
Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez is charged in connection with unintentional death of baby. Photo: Arlington Police Department
Written by Jason Spencer

The mother of an 8-month-old boy who died Friday after being left in a hot car for hours has been arrested, the Arlington County Police Department announced Saturday.

Zoraida Magali Conde Hernandez, 32, of Alexandria, has been charged with felony child neglect following what police have determined was the unintentional death of her baby.

She is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility without bond, according to police.

Hernandez drove to work in Arlington on Friday and did not drop off the child at daycare, according to Alexandria police.

The baby was left in her vehicle in a parking lot in the 200 block of North Glebe Road, not far from Ballston Common Mall, for about six hours while Hernandez went to work, according to Arlington police.

Hernandez noticed the baby had been left in his car seat when she arrived at a daycare to pick up another one of her children, according to an Arlington police news release.

The infant was unresponsive and Hernandez immediately drove him to Inova Alexandria Hospital.

The baby was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
NoBS July 08, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Earle Mobley failed to do his job. Culpepper should have been charged under Virginia law. Morrogh did his job and charged Harrison. That's what taxes pay for.
Kelly Ferguson July 08, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Since I heard this terrible news Ive been wondering if charges would be brought - thanks for the legal perspective Gail. As for everyone else - am I the only one who can fully appreciate how easy it actually is to forget your baby in a car and ALSO agree that the mother should be charged?
NoBS July 08, 2013 at 04:37 PM
It's up to a jury to acquit. Let the people decide. A prosecutor who fails to bring charges is denying the will of the people. That's not how our system is supposed to work.
Vicki July 08, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Gail, I would hope that the prosecutor would weigh the evidence and bring charges if they are warranted. "Denying the will of the people" sounds a lot like mob rule. That the public should decide -- based on our limited knowledge of the facts of the case -- who gets prosecuted and who doesn't? Certainly that is not what you meant. Because there are a lot of people posting here who have tried and convicted her of murder and seem to be out for blood.
Juliet July 08, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I agree with Kelly. I understand that it is possible for loving parents to forget their children in a car but at the same time I am not ready, on so little information, to believe it was an accident. I don't know whether she should be charged but she should certainly be investigated. I need more info before I can decide if I think this was a tragic "unintentional" accident. None of the reports that have come out have given much info concerning the case. So for now, I remain suspicious. Just because she is a mom isn't enough to give her a free pass in my book. That being said, if this was unintentional I imagine she is devastated and will go thru her own hell the rest of her life and no punishment on earth will ever match what she is going thru. If they need to charge her with something fine, but she should be out on bond since punishing her surviving children, by taking their mother away seems cruel, since the police themselves have stated that it was unintentional.
Teresa Alawine White July 08, 2013 at 09:13 PM
What do you get when you leave a golden retriever dog in a car on a hot day with the windows cracked a bit, and the dog dies from being cooked in that car oven? Well, you get arrested for felony animal cruelty, with bail set at $20,000 while you await your trial, which, if convicted, will get you about three years in jail. But yet people believe that some forgetful mother should be let go for doing the same to a child! This woman might be in agony, true but she deserves to be. She forgot her child and killed it. I don't understand how you can forget. Safe driving requires that you check your review mirror ever 5 to 8 second! You mean to tell me this lady didn't see her baby???? Yeah right she probably used the rear view to check her face before heading into work. Where are the people who leave their babies in the car all day during the winter? It doesn't happen or you never hear of it. That's strange isn't it. Accident, I think not!!
NoBS July 09, 2013 at 07:14 AM
Vicki, I'm not advocating "mob rule." We choose a jury through voir dire, during which anyone who has prejudged a case is ruled out so the that defendant can get a fair and impartial jury. By "will of the people" I mean a fair and impartial jury, but that can't happen without the commonwealth's attorney filing charges.
Jessica July 09, 2013 at 09:15 AM
This woman should be jailed and sterilized to prevent future mishaps. Death of a child isn't enough punishment. I am sure this baby is the youngest of 12-14 siblings and this is just one less baby for her to have to remember.
Jessica July 09, 2013 at 09:32 AM
Also, if you do your research, you will notice that parents of one or two kids NEVER leave their children in cars. It's the stressed out parents of 3+ kids that forget to check the backseat. In other words, if your brain can't handle it please stop reproducing. I almost vomitted when I read "Raelyn "Lyn" Balfou" from your pulitzer article decided to have a FOURTH baby after she had murdered her son already! STOP.
oldtowner July 09, 2013 at 11:33 AM
to Jessica: You are incorrect and need to do your own research again. Of course, it sounds like you have made up your mind regardless of facts or logic. And wow....you think she should be sterilized. I bet you think you're a good Christian. ha.........
Jessica July 09, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Nope, I'm an atheist. An atheist who believes in sterilizing bad parents. And I mis-typed my first comment. Parents of one or two kids RARELY leave their kids in the car. Not never. My apologies.
NoBS July 09, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Another article says the woman will appear before a judge on Wednesday to consider the bond issue. She may be released on bond. She has an attorney now.
Jorge Brito July 09, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Accident or no accident. What she did is a crime and she must pay for it. She should have been more responsible. There is no excuse for forgetting her own child in the car and having him locked inside for hours.
Amy Billand July 09, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Melissa Kelly- How come it's ok for YOU to dislike what Vicki said and lecture her about the etiquette of comment sections? You are doing the exact same thing you are berating her for. You said everyone is entitled to their own opinion...well what she said is her own opinion. Who says people always "face the windows of the backseat" when locking your car? I don't have living children yet, but when I get out of my car, I have my back to the car as I shut the door and walk away, and hit the lock button on my remote between 5 and 10 feet away once I'm done fumbling with what's in my hand. It's pretty narrow minded to say ALL people face their cars when locking it and therefore should never fail to realize their kids are in the car.
oldtowner July 10, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Dear Jessica: So you believe in sterilizing "bad parents". Do you get to decide who is a "bad parent?" Does it include parents who feed their kids junk food, which can lead to diabetes and obesity? How about parents who don't make their kids wear bike helmets? Slippery slope......
Jessica July 10, 2013 at 08:57 AM
I know, oldtowner, I know. Slippery indeed. Let's first just start with parents that murder their kids, puposefully or not. We'll decide who else after we take care of them.
Jorge Brito July 10, 2013 at 09:06 AM
@ Oldtowner A parent that forgets about their own child, is not a good parent. Do you call that a "good parent"? Someone that forgets about their kids and made them loose their life, you call that good parenting? Come on now. That is unacceptable what she did. Parents that forget about their kids are bad parents and also irresponsible. It also means that they don't care about them much, or at all. This lady got what she deserves.
oldtowner July 11, 2013 at 09:49 AM
perhaps instead of being vindictive and insistent on punishing or sterilizing this woman, you folks should think about ways to help solve the problem. Most folks who have studied this agree that it can happen to almost anyone....Read the following: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/accept-a-technical-assist-and-keep-kids-in-car-seats-alive/2013/07/08/f2dea57a-e80f-11e2-a301-ea5a8116d211_story.html#
Kay O'zink July 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022701549.html?sid=ST2009030602446 Please read this. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
oldtowner July 12, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Thx to Kay O'zink: another article on this topic for all you "haters" out there..... http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/accept-a-technical-assist-and-keep-kids-in-car-seats-alive/2013/07/08/f2dea57a-e80f-11e2-a301-ea5a8116d211_story.html
oldtowner July 12, 2013 at 04:41 PM
to Jessica: a follow-up article states this woman has 4 remaining children...so she had 5 before this child died. A rather different scenario than you stated earlier, as follows: " I am sure this baby is the youngest of 12-14 siblings and this is just one less baby for her to have to remember." You seem to have some type of bias in this ...... so?
Jessica July 15, 2013 at 07:30 AM
Yes, when I say 12-14 I am exaggerating- because 5 is just as bad. I think if you have more than 2-3 you have a "kid addiction" and should start adopting or fostering to fulfill your needs. Too many children = bad news for all of them.
McBrinn July 15, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Jessica is the least skilled troll the Patch has ever seen.
Jessica July 16, 2013 at 07:30 AM
I'll gladly take that honor :-) My view will be the accepted view in the centuries to come friend. China has got it right. People should really think before they pro-create.
Tara Sheehan July 16, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Yes, a country that, in the very recent past, used to leave baby girls for dead. We should totally model our policies after them. You're obviously brilliant, I hope you think before you procreate.
Jessica July 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM
I didn't say we should model our policies after them fool! I said they got the one about population control right. It WILL be an issue. People like this woman just hammer home the point.
MAK July 16, 2013 at 09:27 PM
You sound like someone who has never had children and who is casting huge judgements based on how much experience? I would guess NONE. Why resort to name calling? It demeans your already fragile argument.
Jessica July 17, 2013 at 07:23 AM
I have TWO kids and this is the last comment I am making. I am not calling anyone names unless they put words in my mouth. I said this woman should be sterilized so it won't happen to another infant she has and cannot handle. I feel that way about anyone who kills their children.
oldtowner July 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM
adios, Jessica.....and I really feel sorry for your kids....
MAK July 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I stand corrected on the parental status. But you must stand corrected on the name calling. You referred to a poster as "Fool". I hope that your children learn better diplomatic skills somewhere. Too much hate and vitriol.

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