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ALLOWAY, NJ – A woman has been arrested after she passed out in the front seat of her car for hours and her 2-year-old daughter fatally injured herself while trying to escape her car seat.

Deanna Joseph, 39, called 911 around 9:45 p.m. to report her daughter was unresponsive. When police arrived at the scene they found the girl dead in her car seat in a car running in the driveway.

After questioning Joseph, police determined she had pulled into her driveway and passed out for hours with the car running and the heater running. During this time, her daughter struggled to get out of her car seat and may have accidentally hanged herself in the straps.

Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan said the child had no obvious signs of blunt force trauma and the exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office. My guess it will be either asphyxiation, heat exhaustion or a combination of both.

Joseph was charged with second-degree child endangerment, charges that I am sure will be upgraded once an official cause of death is determined, and especially considering Joseph’s history of doing this exact, same thing multiple times in the past.

In 2008 Joseph was arrested after her 11-year-old and 2-year-old were found alone at home while she was high on drugs in the parking lot. Her children were temporarily taken into state custody and Joseph was convicted of cruelty and child neglect and sentenced to five years of probation.

In 2014, she was arrested again after being found passed out on drugs while her infant son was bathing in several inches of water. For that she was sentenced to a year in jail and was released a year ago this month.

Over the last 20 years, Joseph has faced a plethora of other charges that include possession of heroin and cocaine and resisting arrest.

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