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Family mourns Durham toddler found in van at candlelight vigil

Posted August 31

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— Durham police continue to investigate Wednesday after a 3-year-old girl died after being left inside a hot minivan for hours on Monday afternoon.

Officers responded to a home in the 1100 block of Hearthside Street just after 7 p.m. Monday. Leslie Murillo was pulled from the van by a family member and was pronounced dead a short time later.

According to the child's family, Leslie Murillo mother, Rocio Murrillo, her grandmother, another adult and five children, including Leslie, were out running errands and returned home at about 3 p.m. At that point, everyone got out of the car, except for Leslie.

Family members say they assumed the child had gotten out of the van when everyone else did, but that was not the case.

It was not until her father got home and realized the 3-year-old was missing. He found her in the hot van.

Multiple 911 calls from neighbors reflect the panic as they tried to help save the child.

"I just saw (the family) screaming and trying to break the window to the car. I think she's dead. We don't know what to do. She is turning purple. Her dad is holding her," a caller said. "everyone is on her and they are trying to get her to breathe."

Rocio Murillo said it was all an accident.

"I love and I still love my daughter. I have four more children," she said. "It was truly an accident. I love my daughter."

At a candlelight vigil Wednesday night, friends and loved ones shared spiritual songs to comfort Leslie Murillo's family. Through their pain, they tried to remember the joy the 3-year-old brought to their lives.

"They're in a lot of pain right now," said family friend April Yanez. "It's helping with the people who are supporting them. I think what's hurting the most are the people not supporting them and spreading ugly things."

An autopsy will be performed to determine the child's cause of death. No charges have been filed.

The investigation is ongoing.

A funeral will be held for Leslie Murillo Friday afternoon at the Church of the Good Pastor on Liberty Street in Durham.


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