Pastor: "She loved her baby"; child left in SUV identified

Homewood Police have identified the 11-month-old girl left inside of a hot SUV {}in downtown Homewood as Gabriella Gi-Ny Luong. Investigators say police were called to SoHo Square Shopping Center near 19th Street and Oxmoor Road around 1:30pm Wednesday. The child was rushed to Children's of Alabama. She was later pronounced deceased. The Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner's Office says the cause of her death may not be determined for another two weeks.

Gabriella Gi-Ny Luong's parents were a part of the Vietnamese congregation of North Shelby Baptist Church in Birmingham.{} "Tragic situation," is how Senior Pastor Allan Murphy describes the child's death.{} He says he visited the child's parents at their house Thursday morning. Pastor Murphy says everyone has an opinion but one thing should be clear, "The mother loved her baby."

Pastor Murphy says he is not aware of funeral arrangements for Gabriella GI-Ny Luong at this time.


A pile of flowers, teddy bears and cards for the family keep coming. Many are from total strangers. They say they can't imagine what the family is giong through.

"It could happen to any of us at any time. That's what so touching about it. Bless her heart," said Buddy Wade.

Wade didn't know baby Gabriella or her parents. He saw what happened on the news and decided to leave yellow flowers and a word of encouragement. He's a father and grandfather, and says that's why he was compelled to come here. "Local people, we have to take care of each other. Black, white, oriental, Asian, it doesn't make any difference. We're all here together," said Wade.

The 911 call came in to Homewood Police around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon. When they arrived the baby was unresponsive.

Allen Trent works at an eye care center next door to Genesis Nail Spa, the shop owned by the baby's parents. He says someone came and asked the doctor to give the baby CPR. "He doctor is ok, it's just been really hard for him being that he saw the mom being frantic and the dad being frantic and everything, it's been really hard," said Trent.

Trent says the baby's parents were friendly, though he never saw their baby. "They were a younger couple. And they seemed to be a very nice couple, owned the Genesis Nail Spa and asked about some eye exams with us," said Trent.

Trent says his heart goes out to the family. "I signed their guest book earlier and left a little Bible verse for them and tried to let them know they're in our thoughts and prayers, and I can't imagine how they're feeling. I have a couple of young children myself and so it's really impacted me in my heart," he said.

Sergeant Andrew Didcoct with Homewood Police says detectives are still gathering information about what happened. For now no charges have been filed. He says the detective's information will most likely be turned over to the Jefferson County District Attorney.

We were told by the coroner's office it could be two weeks before we have an official cause of death.