Snellville Police Detective Jeff Manley said at a news conference on Wednesday that he believes the 8 month old baby , Nova Grace Whatley-Trejo was in a car for hours on Tuesday. And that the baby’s grandmother, Leticia Padilla, found her in the car and rushed her to the hospital a little before 10pm.
The infant’s father, Davied Whatley, 20, had parked his car two buildings away from the Snellville Police Department building, and with his little baby still in the car, had made his way to the station to retrieve his firearm that was seized beforehand.
The location of his car, at Snellville City Hall, and the fact that there was a baby still in it was completely unknown to the police. According to Manley, firearms are not returned until a background check was conducted to ascertain if the owner is a convicted felon or not; and during the check, Davied was found to have had a warrant for probation violation. He was therefore arrested at the station.
Davied Whatley, who was on camera from the time he arrived at the station till he was transported and released to deputies at the Gwinnett County Detention Center, was said to have made no reference whatsoever to the Snellville police of his 8 month old daughter still being in his car.
According to Manley, “He made no statements as to the fact that his daughter was left in the car two buildings away from the Snellville Police Department.”
He also said that Grace was found after her Grandmother was alerted by Whatley. She was already dead by the time her grandmother had gotten to the car. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures reached a high of 86 degrees on Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta, just 30 miles Northeast of Snellville. Little Nova Grace died from the exposure to heat in the car.
Whatley was released on bond for his probation violation arrest, but was taken back into custody on Wednesday on the charge of second degree murder. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called upon by the Snellville Police Department to investigate the death and to act as the Primary investigating agency.