YORK COUNTY, VA – In Virginia, a 40-year-old woman is facing charges after an 11-month-old child and a dog were found dead in a hot car. Kristen Danielle Graham was arrested and charged with child neglect and animal cruelty, according to the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office.
Graham, who is currently detained at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, was entrusted with the care of the child, Myrical Wicker, by the infant’s 17-year-old mother for a two-day period. Graham owned the dog that also passed away in the car.
Sheriff Ron Montgomery stated that the authorities are awaiting the results of the baby’s autopsy to determine whether the charges against Graham will be escalated to homicide. The incident unfolded when Graham received a late-night call from a friend requesting cigarettes. Unable to leave due to caring for an elderly individual, the friend asked Graham to make the purchase.
Graham, with the child and dog in the car, drove to a convenience store and then spent a significant amount of time at her friend’s residence. She returned to York County around 8 a.m., leaving the child and dog in the car with the windows up. It wasn’t until around 2:30 p.m., when she received another phone call, that Graham checked on the child and dog, only to find them both deceased.
The infant’s body was brought to Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital by 80-year-old Paul Kudlaty, who is not facing any charges. Sheriff Montgomery noted that Graham’s accounts of the events leading to the child and dog’s deaths have been inconsistent, prompting further investigation into whether their being left in the car was intentional.
The sheriff expressed the profound impact such cases have on all involved, from investigators to EMS responders. The investigation is ongoing, with efforts to determine the temperature inside the vehicle prior to the discovery of the bodies. Graham, who frequently babysat the child, has not provided a clear explanation for the tragic incident. The identity of the 17-year-old mother and details about the dog have not been disclosed by the police.