Baby dies in 109-degree Largo mobile home, police say; father charged

The father has been arrested after the death of the infant.

LARGO, FLA. - Bond has been set for a Largo man charged in connection to his infant son's death.  That infant died after being found in a sweltering mobile home.

William Hendrickson was arrested Thursday, following investigators' welfare check of two children at the King's Manor Estates on South Belcher Road near 142nd Avenue North.

Hendrickson, 25, had nothing to say to the judge this afternoon when he was charged with  but his neighbors are talking and they have their opinions.

“I don't why people have to treat their children that way,” says neighbor Judy, who didn’t feel comfortable giving her last name. “It’s a slow death. A painful death. It must be. To let a child, suffer like that.”

Rescuers were sent to the mobile home park around 12:30 p.m. and began CPR on the baby. Crews were not successful in saving him. The daughter was taken to an area hospital for severe dehydration.

Watch: Neighbor reacts to man accused of killing infant son

Hendrickson had previously been told by social services not to leave the children in a hot environment -- his bedroom, which was recorded at 109 degrees Thursday, according to a news release.

Records show he's been charged with child neglect of his 2-year-old daughter and aggravated manslaughter of his 8-month-old son. The victim's sister is in the care of relatives.

The Department of Children and Families said the family was subject to three prior investigations, and the family was receiving services by a provider contracted by Eckerd Kids as a result of an investigation this year.

The details of the previous investigations are confidential, DCF said.

“The circumstances surrounding this baby’s death are horrible and we are devastated by this loss," DCF said in a statement. "The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation and DCF will deploy a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team to review all interactions this family has had with Florida’s child welfare system.

"We will also support law enforcement in any way appropriate to hold anyone responsible fully accountable.”

Police also tell us that officers had been to the Hendrickson house 20 times in the past year.

The last call was just 24 hours before the baby died and that was a domestic dispute call.

Officers says the temperature inside the house was normal when they arrived on the previous call.

“The children seemed fine and not showing any signs of stress,” says Lt. Randall Chaney with the Largo Police Department.

Bond for Hendrickson was set at $100,000 for manslaughter and $50,000 for child neglect.  If he's able to bond out, he'll be under house arrest. He'll be confined to his home and monitored through GPS by the sheriff's office.

He's to have no contact with anyone under 18, including his 2-year-old daughter, unless DCF says otherwise.

Largo police says there are three air conditioning units in the home.

  • The first one, where the child was wasn’t working.
  • The second one, in the living area was working but wasn’t cooling.
  • The third in the parents room, was working.

Reporter Shannon Valladolid contributed to this report.

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