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Baby dies after she was left in hot car while dad was arrested, taken to jail, police say

The father was charged with murder the following day.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — A 20-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after he showed up at the Snellville Police Department, and officers determined he had a probation violation warrant for his arrest. He didn't tell police his 8-month-old daughter was outside in a car.

Around 2 p.m., Davied Japez McCorry Whatley showed up at the police station to pick up firearms that had been confiscated in a previous case. While with the "property custodian," Whatley was taken into custody by police for a misdemeanor probation violation stemming from a hit-and-run crash with no insurance.

He never mentioned he'd left his infant, Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo, in the car, according to police.  Around 9 p.m., the grandmother brought the baby to Piedmont Eastside Medical Center's emergency room.

The hospital staff determined Nova was dead and that she had been in the car for seven hours at the police station. The grandmother told hospital staff that the baby was left in a car "after a traffic stop."

Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office

After learning of the baby's death, police located Whatley's car in the parking lot of the adjacent Snellville City Hall.

At no time did he mention his infant daughter being left inside the car, police said in a statement. They said the entire interaction with the man, from first contact in the lobby to when he arrived in jail, was recorded on police body camera.

Police said Whatley bonded out of jail Tuesday night for the probation violation but was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder following the death of his daughter.

Credit: Provided
Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo

11Alive's Brittany Kleinpeter spoke to Nova's mother, Selena, via text message, who said her little girl lit up the room.

"She had the biggest personality a baby could have. She laughed and smiled since she was a month old. She talked to you in her baby language and answered you with noises when you said her name," Selena said. 

The high temperature in metro Atlanta was around 86 degrees, according to 11Alive meteorologists.

GBI is now investigating the case and the agency's findings will be turned over to the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office. 

"I loved her more than I could ever imagine and my heart is breaking that she is gone so soon," Nova's mother said.

Watch the full press conference below:

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