Earlier today, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Chaya Shurkin, 25, of Lakewood, has been charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2) — a crime of the Second Degree. Shurkin’s 20 month old child died after being left in a hot car last month.
On May 6, 2019, Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to a Lakewood residence for a report of a child in distress. The Officers found a neighbor attempting to perform CPR on the child, who was then transported to Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus. The child later expired at the hospital.
“A thorough and extensive investigation revealed that the child had been left alone in Shurkin’s motor vehicle for approximately two-and-one-half hours with the car turned off, in the heat. Shurkin was the child’s mother. The investigation determined that the act of leaving the child in the car unattended for such a long period of time was the cause and manner of the child’s death,” said Billhimer.
The death of the child was the 6th one this year in the country due to being left behind in a hot car. According to KidsAndCars.org, 11 children died this way this year so far. In a typical year, 1 child dies every 8 days from being left behind in a hot car due to heat-related causes. 2018 was the worst year on record, with 52 children killed. Usually, the child dies due to negligence, but sometimes, parents have been found guilty of punishing their children by intentionally leaving them locked in hot cars. This was the case in 2019 when a Texas mother wanted to “teach her children a lesson”; the two children involved were killed by heatstroke.