Tenn. Father Charged With Homicide After 11-Month-Old Daughter’s Hot-Car Death

Parents Travis McCullough and Jessica Tollett (Chattanooga, Tenn., Police Department)
Parents Travis McCullough and Jessica Tollett (Chattanooga, Tenn., Police Department)

The father of an 11-month-old girl is facing multiple charges after the child died this weekend after being left in a scorching-hot car “unattended ... for an extended period,” according to Chattanooga, Tenn., police.

ABC News reports that the temperature reached 90 degrees Saturday, when the child was left alone.

An affidavit of complaint indicates that a woman heard a man—later identified as Travis McCullough, the child’s father—yelling “Help” from a parking lot. When the woman exited her vehicle to offer help, she told authorities, McCullough “tossed” the lifeless child, who was completely unclothed, into her arms and then fled the scene in his vehicle.


Emergency responders noted that the baby had a temperature of 106 degrees, according to documents, and there were insects flying from her eyes, nose and mouth. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to documents, it is believed that the infant and McCullough’s two other children—ages 2 and 5—were in the vehicle while the 30-year-old father worked at his father’s restaurant. Police say that McCullough’s father had sent his son home before when he had attempted to leave the kids in the car while he worked; this time, however, McCullough’s father told police, he had no idea his son’s children were in the car.

The other two children appeared to be neglected, according to police, and needed to be taken to a hospital for medical attention. Child-protective services “will take custody of those children once they are medically cleared,” the police said.

McCullough is accused of “knowingly and willfully [leaving] the victims inside the vehicle exposing them to extreme heat for hours,” the complaint reads. He has been charged with criminal homicide and three counts of aggravated child neglect.


The children’s mother, 24-year-old Jessica Tollett, was also arrested and is facing three counts of aggravated child abuse or neglect following the baby’s death.

The affidavit of complaint against Tollett charges that one of the two surviving children, the 5-year-old boy, had two black eyes, an abrasion on his forehead and several scars and other healing wounds on his body. The 5-year-old was described as nonverbal. Tollett acknowledged that the boy had not seen a doctor since he was 2, even though “he has obvious development delays,” according to the affidavit. Both children also appeared not to have been bathed recently.


A further search of the family’s home unearthed “atrocious conditions,” including one room covered in feces and urine, according to the report. There was only one bed and one crib inside the home, the affidavit added.

Both parents were being held at the Hamilton County, Tenn., Jail on bond.


Read more at ABC News.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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The fuck is wrong with people?