Madera student found dead in car may have suffered heatstroke

A 14-year-old girl who was found dead by her brother last week in their car at a San Joaquin Valley high school may have died of heatstroke, authorities said Wednesday.

Graciela Martinez and her brother first arrived at Madera South High School at about 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 11. Her brother got out, but Martinez stayed in the car because her first class did not start until later, said Madera Police Sgt. Robert Salas.

It wasn’t until her brother got out of class at about 3 p.m. that he discovered her in the vehicle, Salas said. Martinez’s brother drove her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Salas said that while final autopsy results may not be ready for about two weeks, preliminary results showed she may have died of heatstroke.


Madera Unified Supt. Ed Gonzalez told the local Fox affiliate that the temperature inside the car at the time the girl was found exceeded 130 degrees.

“It was just a tragic accident,” Salas said, adding that authorities do not suspect foul play and did not find underlying health conditions in the young woman.

Grief counselors were brought to the high school to help students deal with the trauma.



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