Two Dothan parents charged in child's death
Four-year-old son killed
By Matt Elofson
Published: June 29, 2011
Updated: June 29, 2011 - 10:55 AM
Two Dothan parents face criminal charges after police arrested them in the connection to the death of their 4-year-old son.
According to a Dothan police statement, police arrested Christopher Aldridge, 35, and 23-year-old Stephanie Coogle, and charged them each with a single count of felony manslaughter.
The two parents were taken to the Dothan City Jail. Police say a bond will be determined later today. If convicted of the class B felony charge of manslaughter they each face two to 20 years in prison.
Deputy Houston County Coroner Ben Earnest said he was called to the intersection of Citadel Avenue and Oglethorpe Street Tuesday evening for an emergency call of a child down. Earnest said he pronounced Shawn Michael Aldridge dead around 9:30 a.m. Earnest said Shawn Michael would have turned five years old later this year on Sept. 20.
The police statement said the boy’s father made the 911 call around 8:25 p.m., reporting his son was not breathing. When police and paramedics arrived they found the father attempting to resuscitate the child.
The police statement said the preliminary investigation has revealed the boy entered a vehicle parked at 1100 Citadel Avenue while unsupervised. Police say once the child was inside the vehicle he was unable to open the door because none of the handles were functional from the interior.
The police statement said investigators are awaiting a forensic opinion on the length of time in which the child was in the vehicle. However several hours are unaccounted for based on statements of the parents. Police said the incident remains under investigation.
Earnest said it’s unclear how the boy came to be in the car, and exactly how long he was inside it.
“It appears he may have succumbed to the heat inside the vehicle,” Earnest said. “It appeared he’d been inside the car for several hours. My guess is he’d been in the car five or six hours at least. We’ve been called to heat related deaths before, but obviously when it’s a child it’s much more sensitive and emotional for all those involved. It seems like a child is much more