A Florida grandmother has been charged with aggravated manslaughter for the hot-car death of her 7-month-old granddaughter, less than a year after her toddler grandson drowned in a pond while she napped.
Tracey Nix, 65, was babysitting her seven-month-old granddaughter, Uriel Schock, on Nov. 1, when the infant was found dead in the back seat of her SUV.
The 2019 Lexus was parked with all its windows closed outside Nix’s home in small town of Wauchula, where temperatures soared into the 90s on that fall day.
Inside the house, Nix, a former school principal, talked to her dog and practiced the piano.
When interviewed by the police later, the grandmother said she had “just forgotten” about her granddaughter after returning home from lunch with friends, according to an affidavit by the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office.
It was not until one of Nix’s other grandchildren arrived that she said it “came across her head” that baby Uriel had been in the SUV all afternoon.
The grandmother’s husband, Nun Ney Nix, found the unresponsive infant in the backseat and attempted CPR, but she could not be revived.
“To think of the last moments of her life as a mother is gut-wrenching,” Uriel’s mother, Kaila Nix, told ABC Action News.
Her partner, Drew Schock, wondered aloud through sobs: “How do you forget a little girl?”
The baby girl died 11 months after her 16-month-old brother, Ezra, drowned in a pond while in the care of his grandmother.
Three days before Christmas in 2021, Nix had reportedly dozed off on the couch. When she woke up and could not find her toddler grandson, she called her husband for help.
Ezra was later discovered lying unresponsive in a couple of feet of standing water outside his grandmother’s home.
After getting a call about her son, Kaila Nix sped to her mother’s home and got into a head-on collision while six months pregnant with Uriel.
“All of my airbags went off, I don’t remember how I got out, but I got out and started running to my parent’s house and at this point, I don’t have shoes. I’m just running,” she recalled. “That was my desperation to get to my son.”
Kaila and her partner, Drew Shock, said that after their son’s drowning death they did not trust Tracey “at all” and would never let their eldest child, aged 4, go to her house.
“We were anxious, but I loved my mother and I am a daughter that wanted her mom in her life in some capacity, and in that moment, I thought that I could believe in second chances,” Kaila Nix said.
The mom-of-three added that when she learned that her son’s death was ruled accidental, she was relieved.
“Some sliver child part of me, thought, ‘Ok good, I get to keep this mom. This grandmother. This person,” she said of Tracey Nix.
Kaila Nix said that on Nov. 22, she felt comfortable leaving her daughter in her mother’s care because she knew the people she was going to lunch with and trusted them.
Within a few hours, she said an officer from the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office showed up at her home, telling her that her baby was dead.
“And I said, ‘I’m sorry, what? I know Ezra’s dead. Why are you here, like…what is this?’ ‘No, Kaila, your baby is dead,’” she recalled the officer explaining to her.
Tracey’s Nix’s lawyer, William Fletcher, described Uriel’s hot-car death as “obviously an accident,” and said that the grandmother was “totally devastated” by the deaths of her two grandchildren.
The 65-year-old could face between 12 and 30 years in prison if found guilty of aggravated manslaughter in her granddaughter’s death, according to the attorney.
“If I’m objective, she needs to go to prison,” Kaila Nix said. “As her daughter, it kills me to say it. As their mother, I demand it. I will fight for them.”