NAPLES, Fla. – The Department of Children and Families said it was investigating before a baby died Monday.
The baby, Abigail Ann Benavides, was pronounced dead at Naples Community Hospital after her mother and another woman ran out of gas while on their way to the hospital, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said. Their attempt prompted a scramble before deputies responded to the 7-Eleven at 2135 Tamiami Trail E. where the mother, Krystal Ann Williams, asked repeatedly about the status of her child but also dozed off several times, the sheriff’s office said.
Benavides, just five days shy of 2 months old, was unconscious and not breathing when police were alerted shortly after noon Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. She was taken to the Naples Community Hospital in an ambulance, according to CCSO.
Williams’ friend, Taylor Caroline Kosow, said she was driving the vehicle that ran out of gas.
“There was a woman over here; she was frantic — hysterically on the phone and another woman sitting on the side of the road and she looked highly intoxicated. She looked in bad shape,” said Caleb Musick, who was working outside the gas station.
Witnesses said the baby looked lifeless and the women who claimed to have found the child were hysterical. A woman who claims to have babysat Abigail also believes the infant was dead hours before emergency crews were called to the 7-Eleven. Taylor Hickok said she is friends with Williams who saw the baby Monday morning.
“The mom came out about five minutes later screaming, saying something is wrong with the baby, so my friend went in there and looked and the baby was completely blue not breathing eyes not open,” Hickok said. “The baby was dead when they woke up.”
Authorities have not confirmed the time of Baby Abigail’s death.
Hickok said she had reported Williams to the Department of Children and Families several times. Jessica Sims with DCF confirmed that there was a case opened for Abigail. Now authorities are investigating the baby’s death.
“The department has opened a death investigation into the loss of this child and is working closely with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The department had one previous child protective investigation involving the deceased child that was open at the time of the death,” Simms said in a written statement.
A car was towed away from the scene. Investigators are working to uncover details.
No further information was immediately available.