Firefighter charged with aggravated manslaughter in death of toddler son

A Palm Harbor man was arrested after leaving his son in his truck for eight hours Friday.

A Palm Harbor man is facing aggravated manslaughter charges in the heat-related death of his toddler son Friday afternoon.

According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Troy Whitaker, 41, said he left home at 7:50 Friday morning, dropped off his 5-year-old daughter at school, and intended to drop off Lawson at day care but forgot to do so. He then returned home, the toddler still in the truck, and didn’t leave again until 3:30 to go grocery shopping.

Whitaker said only when he began unloading the groceries did he discover Lawson, who at that point had been in the truck for eight hours with a heat index over 100 degrees.

Whitaker, a Hillsborough County firefighter for the last four years, called 911 and attempted CPR. The boy, whose temperature reached 108 degrees, was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Whitaker has been charged with aggravated manslaughter charges and has been taken to the Pinellas County Jail. 

Update: Whitaker was bonded and released out of jail for $50,000 at 5:42 AM, according to Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.



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