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Mother of 2-year-old girl left in hot car is arrested in her daughter’s death

Map showing the location of girl found inside a hot car
Deputies found the child in a car on South Vermont Avenue near Torrance.
(Los Angeles Times)

A 34-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, who authorities say died after being left alone in a hot car last week.

Lacey Mazzarella was taken into custody about 8 p.m. and was being held in lieu of $1-million bail, according to jail records. She has not been charged in the case.

Mazzarella’s daughter, identified by coroner’s officials as June Augosto, died Sept. 23 at a hospital after she was found unresponsive in the 22400 block of South Vermont Avenue in an unincorporated area near Torrance, authorities said.

Relatives, who started a GoFundMe account to raise money for the toddler’s funeral, say the girl’s last name is spelled Agosto. More than $7,800 has been raised in less than a week for the girl’s family.

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Authorities interviewed Mazzarella at the scene when the girl was found, but she was not immediately arrested.

Coroner’s officials said an autopsy was performed on the child, but a cause of death was deferred pending further tests.

According to a coroner’s report cited by multiple media outlets, the girl’s mother may have left her inside the car with the heater running while she sat in a nearby vehicle drinking with a friend.

The woman said she covered the girl with a blanket and turned the heat on to ensure the child wouldn’t get cold, according to the report. The mother fell asleep in the other vehicle, and when she awoke about five hours later, she found the girl unresponsive, according to the report.

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“Vomit was present on her shirt and the car seat,” the report states, according to KTLA-TV Channel 5. The mother placed the girl “on the grass and sprayed her with the water hose in an attempt to cool her down. The decedent was taken into the house and a call was placed to 911.”

Paramedics noted that the girl had apparent burns on her face, chest and arms, and her temperature was 107.5 degrees, the station reported.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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