A toddler found dead in a minivan in a parking lot at the PATCO High-Speed Line station in Lindenwold had been in the sweltering vehicle for more than five hours when she was found, according to a 911 call.
During the frantic call on Aug. 16, a woman urged a Camden County dispatcher to send help quickly. The child was locked inside a Dodge Caravan in a parking lot used daily by thousands of commuters.
“The baby was left in the van,” the woman said. “She’s turning blue and black.”
The call became increasingly urgent as the dispatcher sought more information. A commotion could be heard as the woman relayed his questions to people near her. She told the dispatcher that the girl’s name was Milliani Robertson, the same name given days later by a man who said he was her father.
“How long has she been in there?” the dispatcher asked.
“Since 9 o’clock this morning,” she responded.
After asking the woman if she could get the baby out of the vehicle, the dispatcher told her to break a window. The woman said someone at the scene had a bat.
“But I don’t want to bust the window,” she said. “But, bust the window?”
Said the dispatcher: “Listen, if you are saying the baby is turning blue and it’s been in there since 9 a.m., we don’t care about the window.”
The woman grew increasingly agitated during the 4½-minute call, which provided new details about the incident, including how long the child was left in the vehicle. The Inquirer obtained a recording of the call through New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act.
After a window was broken, the dispatcher told the woman to check on the baby. “We need to know if the baby is breathing,” he said.
“Oh my God!” she sobbed, with a car alarm blaring. Others with her could be heard screaming and crying.
The dispatcher repeatedly called out to the distraught woman, "Ma’am, ma’am, ma’am, I need you to focus.”
Unable to get a response from the woman, the dispatcher asked her to put someone else on the phone. She eventually responded and told someone to grab the baby from the vehicle.
The dispatcher again asked the woman if the child was breathing.
“Oh no. Aww, man. No, she’s not breathing,” she said finally.
A few seconds later, the woman said police had arrived. The dispatcher told her to let police take over.
Authorities said the child was pronounced dead at the scene after attempts were made to resuscitate her. She was found around 3:30 p.m. The temperature reached 89 degrees in Philadelphia that day, according to the National Weather Service.
On the same day, a 21-month-old boy was found dead in a vehicle in Booneville, Miss. Police said it appeared that the child was left in the vehicle at a workplace all day.
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating the Lindenwold incident along with the Delaware River Port Authority, has not released a cause of death. No charges have been filed.
Authorities have not disclosed who found the child in the vehicle. Lindenwold is the last stop on the New Jersey side on the line.
During the call, the woman said the child was her adopted niece. Authorities have said the child was 22 months old, but have not confirmed her identity.
Earlier this week, Nasir Lawrence, who said he was the father of the little girl, said Milliani was under the care of relatives of her mother while he was in jail for undisclosed charges. He said he had tried to get custody after charges against him were dropped.
“I’m more than upset,” Lawrence, 21, told NBC10. “I’m more than mad.... I lost my daughter.”