Car Left Running Helps Baby Survive Mom's Killing
Brittany Russell was shot to death inside her vehicle
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2016 1:22 PM CST
Brittany Russell, 29.   (Middletown Police)

(Newser) – A killer is on the loose in Dayton, Ohio: Police say Brittany Russell, 29, was shot in the head while in her car outside an apartment complex, with her 6-month-old daughter in the backseat. An officer tells the Dayton Daily News that the child was uninjured, but "her saving grace" was that the car was running with the heater on. It isn't clear how long Russell's body sat slumped over the steering wheel before it was discovered by the property manager around 9:30am Wednesday, reports WLWT and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Russell lived about 30 miles away in Middletown, and police are trying to retrace her last steps. What they know so far: Russell convinced a babysitter to let her take her daughter, Haven, around noon on Tuesday, though she didn't have custody. Haven's father, Chris Edwards, says Russell told him over the phone that she would return the child later that night.

A witness tells ABC 22 that she saw Russell's car running in the apartment parking lot around 11pm Tuesday and then spotted it again several hours later. But it wasn't until Russell failed to show up at Edwards home by 5am that he called police. According to a police report, Edwards said Russell—also the mother of a 10-year-old girl—was planning to give a ride to a drug dealer. His mother adds that Russell suffered from heroin addiction but had been clean in recent weeks and was scheduled to start a treatment program. Police say they found no drugs in her vehicle. There was no gun, either, and authorities say they don't believe Russell was robbed.