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Travis McCullough

A Chattanooga man whose 11-month-old baby girl died when she was left in a hot car for several hours has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Travis McCullough, originally charged with criminal homicide, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the July 8, 2017, incident. He was sentenced Monday by Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman, according to a Facebook post from the district attorney general's office.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Coyle said the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office autopsy determined the baby died from exposure to high heat. Two older children who were also left in the car survived.

Those children, who were dirty, malnourished and showed signs of abuse, were taken by Child Protective Services, according to police and Times Free Press archives.

McCullough had been arrested before, in August 2012, on child abuse and neglect charges, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

(READ MORE: Father charged for hot car death of infant has been arrested for child abuse, neglect before)

A woman who called police to report the 11-month-old's death said she heard the father cry for help, an arrest affidavit at the time stated.

The woman told police she was driving by The Buffalo Shack on Tunnel Boulevard when she stopped to help McCullough. When she got out of her car, he "tossed the lifeless victim who was completely unclothed into her arms and fled the scene," the affidavit states.

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