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Mom Left Her Baby Alone In Her Bed Room, Then She Heard Her Husband’s Screams

Carrie and Larry Volmer, residents of Fort Worth, Texas, put their 17-month-old daughter to bed as they would on any other night. She had cried for a short while, but as usual, she settled down to sleep after a few minutes. Little did this happy family know that the next morning, they would make a horrifying discovery that would forever alter their lives.

The married couple had established a joyful home with their two children, three-year-old Jackson and 17-month-old Sammy. With everything seemingly perfect, they were leading an ideal life. Carrie could never have anticipated the terrible ordeal that lay ahead.

On that fateful day, Sammy’s father, Larry, made a nightmarish discovery no parent should ever endure. He walked into Sammy’s room and found his daughter lifeless in her crib. The desperate and panicked tone in my husband’s voice the next morning as he went to retrieve her from upstairs is something I’ll never forget, Carrie later shared on Facebook.

In April 2016, Sammy’s bedroom was on the second floor of their family home, while her parents slept in the master bedroom downstairs. Due to sleep troubles, Sammy’s older brother, Jackson, had been sleeping in their bedroom downstairs with them.

The following morning, as Larry climbed the stairs to fetch his daughter, he immediately sensed something was amiss when he felt the heat. As soon as I got to the top of the stairs, it was very warm. I mean, hot, Larry recalled. Tragically, it was already too late for Sammy. I rushed to her room, opened the door, and found her lifeless, Larry explained. The temperature on the two floors of the house was regulated by separate systems.

The previous night, when the family went to bed, the thermostat for the second floor had been set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a malfunction during the night would change their lives forever. By the next morning, the system’s error had caused temperatures to soar, subjecting little Sammy to a bedroom that reached well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carrie compared the effect to a sauna, stating that the thermostat registered 99 degrees, the highest it could go, which meant it was over 100 degrees. Despite their efforts to resuscitate her, Sammy was pronounced dead less than an hour after Larry discovered her lifeless body.

The Tarrant County medical examiner determined that Sammy’s cause of death was hyperthermia due to elevated body temperature. Left grieving, her parents wondered why they hadn’t heard Sammy cry. Doctors explained that Sammy had passed away in her sleep, and the couple realized their baby wouldn’t have been able to cry before her body failed.

The devastating news worsened when doctors warned that, due to his age, had Jackson been in his usual bedroom that night, he too might have perished. Young children cannot regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults and do not sweat as much, making them more susceptible to overheating, explained Dr. Todd Wolf, a pediatric emergency physician from Fort Worth.

Desperately searching for answers, Carrie replayed the events of the previous night. She had allowed Sammy to say goodnight to her father before taking her to the bedroom. After placing Sammy in her sleep sack, Carrie gently settled her daughter into the crib for what would tragically be the last time.

Carrie had taken various precautions to keep her baby safe, including removing stuffed animals and pillows from the crib and using breathing monitors for both children until they turned one. As a diligent and cautious mother, Carrie believed she had minimized risks as much as possible. Regrettably, there was one risk that no one had foreseen.

Reflecting on her journey to motherhood, Carrie expressed her wish that she had come across even one warning about the potential dangers posed by heating systems. Perhaps reading about it once could have encouraged her to maintain the breathing monitor or invest in a thermometer. This simple action might have changed everything.

Following Sammy’s tragic death due to a heating system malfunction, the Volmers sought legal action against the heater’s manufacturer to gain clarity. Their baby had suffered a fate akin to those of children left in hot cars for too long, but Sammy had experienced this tragedy within the safety of her bedroom.

Carrie felt compelled to take action, even though it couldn’t bring her daughter back. Shortly after the incident, Carrie began researching similar incidents online, eventually creating a Facebook page in Sammy’s memory called “Remembering Sammy.” Over the past year, the family has shared cherished stories, photos, and videos of their princess.

However, Sammy’s Facebook page serves a more profound purpose: spreading Sammy’s story in the hope that this heart-wrenching series of events never befall another family. The pinned message on Sammy’s Facebook page concludes with a plea to share the post: “We want others, especially those with two-story homes, to hear Sammy’s story so that children can be protected and other families are spared from the horrific grief we are forced to endure each day.”

Carrie’s initial Facebook post has gone viral, garnering over 210 shares and drawing messages of love, support, and shared stories. Sammy’s page has the potential to save lives, highlighting other nightmarish incidents shared by readers, some of which are equally harrowing. While nothing can bring Sammy back, the Volmer family continues to grieve.

“We miss her every second of the day,” Carrie says. A substantial void remains in their family without her presence, and Sammy’s bedroom door now stays open. Her white wooden crib remains, filled with plush toys, serving as a reminder that Sammy will never be forgotten.

Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard
Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.


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