The mother of a 2-year-old girl who died after being left in a car Tuesday and getting her neck trapped in the vehicle’s window was ordered held without bond Friday after being charged with felony child neglect.
Police said they arrested Tabitha A. Inge, 28, of the 4400 block of Angus Road in Richmond, late Thursday evening.
The girl, Mikayla J. “Twinkle” Thurston, was briefly left unattended in the mother’s car as she visited friends in the 6700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway in Chesterfield County.
Mikayla died of blunt force trauma to her neck, the state medical examiner’s office said Friday. Police believe she got her head and neck trapped between one of the car’s windows and the door frame, possibly after she activated one of the window buttons. The incident happened about 9:40 p.m. Tuesday.
During a brief hearing Friday in Chesterfield Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, substitute Judge Mary Owens ordered Inge to be held without bond pending her next court appearance July 7.
Inge told the court that she plans to hire an attorney and asked to be released to attend her child’s funeral. The judge advised Inge to contact her attorney of choice as soon as possible to see if those arrangements could be made.
It was not immediately clear when a funeral will be held.
Chesterfield police said they were called to a mobile home park on Jefferson Davis Highway about 9:40 p.m. for a report of a child not breathing. Officers found the child and she was rushed to VCU Medical Center, where she died.
Chesterfield police Lt. P.J. McCann said the investigation has revealed that Inge left the child in the car to visit friends. She was inside for about five minutes before coming back out to check on her daughter.
“It was a very short period of time,” McCann said.
When police arrived, they found the car keys in the ignition and the engine turned off.
“Either the ignition had to have been on or the car had to have been running” for the electric window buttons to operate, McCann said.
Mikayla’s grandfather, Larry Inge, speculated in an interview Wednesday with the Richmond Times-Dispatch that his granddaughter unbuckled herself and stood up on the car door. Inge believes the window was partially open and that her toe might have pressed the window button.
Larry Inge said his daughter had stopped by a customer’s home to drop off some hair products and left the child for a very short time. When she came back and found her daughter, she tried to revive her, Inge said.
Tabitha Inge has one prior criminal conviction, for petty larceny. According to court records, she was charged in Chesterfield with grand larceny for an offense that occurred in June 2012. She pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of petty theft and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with all but 10 days suspended.