After a 4-Year-Old Florida Boy Died in a Hot Car, His Father’s Girlfriend Is Finally Charged with Manslaughter

A young boy died after being left in a hot car all day while waiting for his dad’s girlfriend.

Mariah Butler pleaded guilty to child neglect after she left her boyfriend’s son, Logan Starling, in her car and he died. Logan was four when he passed away.

At the time of the incident, which occurred in September 2019, Butler allegedly drove Logan and four other kids to school in Orlando, Florida. When she arrived at the school, she got out of her car to get a car seat from her mom. After getting the car seat, she then let the kids out of her car. At the time, she believed that every child had exited the vehicle, according to the Orlando Sentinelthough Logan was still in the vehicle.

Butler also works at the school, so after dropping the children off, she went to work. More than six hours later, when a colleague asked her why Logan hadn’t come to school that day, Butler left school to check her car only to find him unconscious.

Mariah Butler, Logan Starling: After a 4-Year-Old Florida Boy Died in a Hot Car, His Father's Girlfriend Is Finally Charged with Manslaughter
Mariah Butler / Credit: Orange County Sheriff’s Office

“She looked inside, shut the door and ran back inside of the school and laid down on the floor screaming, ‘Call 911,” a teacher told the police.

Police charged Butler with aggravated manslaughter of a child. She later admitted to felony child neglect under a plea deal.

Though the plea deal was initially accepted, after
the boy’s grandparents begged the judge to reconsider, the judge asked the defense
and prosecutors to come up with a different plea deal. A sentencing hearing
will take place on March 24.

When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.