Idaho child trapped in SUV dies

OROFINO, ID -- A 15-month-old boy locked in an SUV Wednesday evening in Orofino was dead when police broke the window to retrieve the child. Rita E. Johnston, the boy's 33-year-old step-grandmother, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony injury to a child in the case.


The Orofino Police Department responded to a citizen’s report of a child locked in a closed vehicle near the intersection of D Street and Michigan Avenue at about 6:05 p.m. Wednesday evening.


Officer Jeremy Adams broke the window in attempt to free the victim from a car seat, but found the child, identified as Patrick Graber, dead on the scene. The temperature was hovering around 96 degrees in Orofino Wednesday while the child was trapped inside the SUV.


Clearwater County Prosecutor Clayne Tyler said an investigation showed that the child was in the car for about five hours when passers-by noticed him and called authorities.


Rita E. Johnston told police that she forgot the child was in the car and fell asleep. She was arraigned on Thursday and is currently being held in Clearwater County Jail with bond set at $15,000.


The Orofino Police Department and Clearwater County Sheriff’s Department are conducting an ongoing investigation in the case.