A 22-year-old mum from Virginia has been charged with child neglect after allegedly leaving her young children inside a car for hours while she went to work, leading to the death of her 18-month-old son.
Brittney Downing, of Prince George County, reportedly took her toddler son and two-month-old daughter to work with her on Sunday, leaving the pair in the car whilst she carried out her eight-hour shift.
Downing called the emergency services from home that evening to say her son was unresponsive.
Paramedics declared the little boy dead at the scene, and rushed the baby girl to hospital where the Mail reports she is 'on a ventilator in critical condition'.
The police say Downing took the children with her as she worked her third shift at the Comfort Suites motel because she had no childcare in place.
After finishing her shift, she went home to her shared apartment in Bailey Ridge, where, at 6pm, she phoned 911 to say her son was unconscious in the bedroom.
Adriana Williams, Downing's roommate and godmother to the two children, told NBC12 that she had noticed there was something wrong with the children.
Downing, who has other unrelated charges pending against her, turned herself in to a police station on Tuesday morning, and appeared before a judge via video-link the following day, telling the court she could not afford legal representation.
Her local radio station said that Downing's other unrelated charges are for larceny, felony obtaining money under false pretenses and speeding and driving under a revoked license.
Her uncle Antoine Scott told TV reporters that his niece was 'human' and asked God to forgive her.
"I want them to know, that she is human, everybody is human," he said, speaking after Downing's court appearance. "Unfortunately, this particular mistake cost the life of her son."