Boy, 2, dies after being left on school bus for eight hours during 37°C heatwave
He was allegedly forgotten about by the driver.
Apollo Gabriel Rodrigues was the only child who remained on the minibus as temperatures soared to 37°C in Brazil on Tuesday.
He was left alone in the back seat for around eight hours.
The driver, named locally as Flavio Robson Benes, 45, discovered the toddler unconscious on the back of the seat at around 4pm.
He was immediately rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.
Benes and his wife Luciana Coelho Graft, 44, who works alongside him as a monitor, are being questioned by police as part of an ongoing homicide investigation.
The youngster’s funeral will take place on Thursday following his death in an area called Villa Maria in the north of the city of Sao Paulo.
The minibus was part of a free school transport scheme operated by the city council.
Apollo’s mum Kaliane Rodrigues recalled how her son had been crying when she handed him over at around 7am so he could be taken to his nursery because he ‘didn’t want to go’.
She told local media: ‘Apollo usually went in the front but the driver’s assistant put him on the back seat and forgot about him.
‘Regardless of where she placed him in the van, she’s been negligent and irresponsible because anyone who works with children has to always be attentive.
‘I want justice. All I want is for justice to be done.’
She added: ‘Whenever I returned home, my boy was always there. Yesterday he wasn’t and I’m never going to see my son again.
‘It’s very difficult to get my head round the idea that I left my child on a school bus thinking he’d be safe and went to work.’
The child’s grandmother Luzinete Rodrigues dos Santos added: ‘The minibus was left in a parking lot in stifling heat.
‘The driver only realised my grandson was still in the back when it was time to return the children to their families.
‘Whoever takes care of children must have maximum responsibility. My daughter wants justice.’
The couple at the centre of the drama have reportedly told police investigators they picked up Apollo from his home around 7am yesterday morning to take him to his creche.
Brazil has been suffering an extreme heatwave in the past few days and yesterday’s average day-time temperature in Sao Paulo reached around 37°C – or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
In September this year, a 10-month-old baby died after being left in a car in 26°C heat at a university campus.
Her father, described as a lecturer in Lisbon, is believed to have forgotten to drop her off at nursery before going to work.
And in August, a one-year-old girl died after being left in a hot car by a daycare centre driver in the US.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.