Father gets 28 years for leaving his toddler to die in burning car

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — A South Carolina man received a 28-year prison sentence Tuesday for leaving his 19-month-old daughter to die in a burning car while he fled the scene to avoid a police pursuit in April 2019.

Imhotep Norman, 28, of Spartanburg, pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse, failure to stop for a blue light and siren, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of with intent to distribute amphetamine, possession of oxycodone, and possession of Xanax.

According to the Spartanburg County Solicitor’s Office, Norman’s daughter, Xena Norman, died April 12, 2019, due to acute carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burns.

Troopers tried to stop Norman for speeding on April 12, 2019. Norman drove over the median of Highway 14 and continued on I-85. 

The car was fully engulfed in flames as troopers forced Norman to the right lane of the road. Norman jumped from the burning car and left his daughter in her car seat.

After extinguishing the fire, firefighters found Xena.

Norman fled into a nearby wooded area but was arrested hours later during a traffic stop. After his arrest, Norman acknowledged leaving the child in the car. He told investigators he thought law enforcement would rescue her.

During the pursuit, a trooper watched Norman toss a backpack containing an assortment of illegal drugs out of the moving vehicle. Sheriff’s deputies recovered the backpack.

Norman will serve 85% of his prison sentence before he is eligible for release.

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