A 14-month-old girl died after being left in a baking hot car while her father attended church.
Kimberly James is believed to have been in the vehicle for over three hours with sweltering temperatures in Florida reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38c).
Her lifeless body was discovered when her father Odane returned to his car after the church service in Miramar near Miami.
Other parishioners tried to revive the baby, but she was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.
The dead girl’s father is believed to be a pastor at the Holiness Born Again Church and had been taking part in the morning service.
Police said charges are pending the outcome of an investigation.
Toddler Kimberly was found at about 3.15pm on Sunday after services finished at the church, police spokeswoman Tania Rues said. The tragic girl’s father Odane returned to his car and discovered Kimberly inside, Rues added.
Guy Italien, who owns the Chez Guyto restaurant next door to the church, told the Miami Herald: “I saw a police officer come here. Then many, many more.”
A customer told him that a baby had been left in the car at the church.
He went outside and saw an officer holding the small motionless girl with hordes of people crying and screaming around her, Italien said.
The restaurant owner said he recognised the little girl as part of the church pastor’s family.
Minutes after a rescue truck arrived, she was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood where she was pronounced dead.
Devastated father: Pastor Odane left 14-month-old daughter Kimberly James in his car for three hours in temperatures reaching over 100 degrees
Hours after the tragedy, devastated worshippers remained at the church in shocked silence while police officers gathered evidence and took pictures of the site nearby.
Investigators believe Kimberly was in the vehicle for about three hours.
Kimberly is the the 49th child to die in the U.S. this year after being left in a hot car, according to statistics gathered by the group Kids and Cars.
President Janette Fennell told the Miami Herald: “The most important thing to understand is that this can happen to anyone. If anything, it does tend to happen to the better parents.
“As little as 8 per cent involve drugs and alcohol. This can happen to college professors and dentists and ministers, really the pillars of our society.”
It is the sixth time in Florida this year that a child has died after being left in a hot car.
In August, 3-year-old Jossue Medina died after being left alone in a car in South Miami-Dade. His mother, Maytee Martinez, 39, was charged with aggravated manslaughter by Miami-Dade police.
In May, a baby girl was found alone during the afternoon inside a vehicle in Oakland Park with the windows barely lowered. The baby was found sweating profusely but appeared to be O.K.
Her mother, Carla Clifton, 22, was charged with leaving a child unattended in a vehicle for more than 15 minutes, according to the Miami Herald.
The number of deaths eclipses a previous annual record of 45.