KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Almost four years ago to the day, Dr. Jodie Edwards drove her two children to their respective locations. It was a week of flux. During the summer, both of her kids went to a sitter's location close to her work at Cincinnati Christian University. But it was a week of change. Edwards dropped her son at his new preschool, then she and her 11-month old daughter, Jenna, went into the school to ensure he was comfortable.
Edwards then began her drive with Jenna to the sitter's. Somewhere about five minutes into the drive, Jenna fell asleep. Edwards envisioned what it would entail to move her slumbering baby from the car to the sitter's house without waking her. She envisioned it in great detail, how she would muffle sounds, so as not to wake Jenna, what her sitter would be wearing, what she would whisper to the sitter.
All of those visions somehow became real to Edwards. That's what she told a crowd of people in Kansas City for a conference on child safety. It was the first known time that Edwards talked about the day she left her daughter in her car while she worked. It was a hot summer day and Jenna did not survive.
Edwards spoke about how she kept her cellphone with her the entire day, just in case the sitter called with a random issue about Jenna. She says she wrote an email to her friend talking about how her children had grown. Her point was that she did think of them through her work day. She just believed that she had indeed taken her daughter to the sitter.
"At the end of the day when I found Jenna in my van as I backed out of my parking space," said Edwards, "my belief that I had dropped her off safely was so solid that I couldn't figure out who put her there."
Edwards recounted that moment. How she, still convinced she had brought Jenna to the sitter's house, started then looking for her son in the car. Thinking someone must have brought him to her as well. And when she couldn't recount her conversation with the sitter that day, was when she knew what had happened.
She recalled the media scrutiny and the prying eyes by people in the community. But reiterated that while those things may have been painful, "nothing compares to losing a child."
In a controversial move in 2008, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters decided not to pursue charges against Edwards. He told 9 News Wednesday he hoped that Edwards would use the opportunity to spread the word that what happened to her daughter could happen to anyone, and perhaps save a life in the process.
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