Scranton parents charged with death of toddler girl who overheated

The Associated Press

SCRANTON – A Pennsylvania couple has been charged in the death of their 20-month-old daughter, who died when an improperly used portable air conditioner overheated a small room she was sleeping in.

Scranton police say 20-year-old Austin Heaton and 18-year-old Mary Cole were charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and recklessly endangering another person. It’s not clear if they have retained attorneys.

Authorities say Nicole Heaton died of hyperthermia and dehydration. They say the air conditioner effectively generated heat rather than cooling down the room.

The child’s younger brother was also sleeping in the room and was hospitalized, but he survived.

Authorities say Cole didn’t check on the children for 14 hours after putting them to bed. Heaton didn’t stay at the home that night, but authorities say his charges stem from improperly installing the air conditioner.