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Baby’s Death in Hot Car Probed

August 3, 1999

HOUSTON (AP) _ Police are investigating a woman who allegedly abandoned her 8-month-old son at a gas station, where he died inside her locked car while outside temperatures hit the 90s.

A sheriff’s deputy found the boy, Senon Arteaga, in the car Sunday afternoon. The boy appeared to have been dead for hours.

Houston’s high temperature was 97 Sunday. A thermometer police used to measure the heat inside the car only went as high as 106, but officers estimated the temperature to be much higher.

The boy’s mother, Sandra Ann Arteaga, who police say was intoxicated, had driven to the gas station early Sunday but decided to take a taxi home with another of her children, who is 3.

Hours later, the children’s father asked the woman where the younger child was, and the woman said she did not know but remembered leaving the car at the gas station, police said.

On Monday, Ms. Arteaga, 30, was charged with reckless injury to a child. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Her arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday.

In San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, a 2 1/2-year-old boy disappeared while playing and later died in a locked car parked in warm afternoon sun.

Luis Fernando Pineda was found unconscious on the back floor of the car three hours after his family began searching for him. Paramedics could not revive him.

``One minute he was playing here,″ said an aunt, Lorena Salgado. ``Then we could not find him.″

It was 76 degrees when Luis disappeared, but authorities said the temperature inside the car could have been 95.

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