DAD FACES CHARGES IN BABY'S DEATH

Saturday, May 14, 2005
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE

JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A tragic tale played out in Jersey City on Thursday when a 4-month-old baby girl perished after being left behind in the family car for seven hours by her forgetful father, officials said.

Vince A. Jackson Jr., 31, of Dwight Street, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child after investigators found he left his daughter, Jada, in his Ford Explorer from just after 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said yesterday.

Although police tried to resuscitate the baby and rushed her in a police cruiser to Greenville Hospital, where doctors also tried to revive her, she was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m., DeFazio said.

DeFazio, called the case a "tragic tale."

Jackson, a musician, returned from work Thursday at 4:30 a.m. and slept for less three hours before waking to drive his 5-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter to their private school, DeFazio said.

With Jada in a child car seat in the back seat of the SUV, Jackson dropped the two older children off at school but apparently forgot to drop the infant off at her baby-sitter's home, DeFazio said.

Jackson returned home and went back to sleep, apparently forgetting Jada was in the vehicle, DeFazio said.

In the afternoon the children's grandfather, Charles Kinlock, picked up the two children from school and went to the baby-sitter's home to find Jada had never arrived there, DeFazio said. When they got back to the Jackson residence at about 4:30 p.m. they found she wasn't there either, only to discover her minutes later unconscious inside the SUV, DeFazio said.

The family immediately called 911.

"It does not appear to the investigative personnel that (Jackson) had the intent to kill . but the fact of the matter is, there is a duty of care for a 4-month-old child," DeFazio said.

"I think we have to have compassion for the entire family. Compassion is not incompatible with justice," the prosecutor said.

Yesterday neighbors of the Jacksons sat in their front yard on Dwight Street off Martin Luther King Drive talking about the tragedy. Others dabbed tears from their eyes as they came and went from the Jackson home.

"It was rough here last night because everybody loved her, and him," said neighbor Robert Rice. "Some things happen in life and you just don't know why they happen. If everybody loved their families like (Jackson), this world would be something."

An autopsy performed at the state Regional Medical Examiner's Office in Newark determined the cause of Jada's death was hypertension caused by environmental exposure, DeFazio said. Her body temperature was also very high.

"The manner of death is not listed a homicide at this point," the prosecutor said, adding that the further investigation is needed and toxicological tests are still incomplete. It is possible Jackson may face more serious charges.

DeFazio said no drugs or alcohol were involved. Jackson was arrested and held in the Hudson County jail in Kearny until his first appearance in court yesterday but he was returned to jail yesterday afternoon after being unable to post bail.

Investigators that night described Jackson as emotional and distraught and Kinlock said his son-in-law had broken down in tears.

"I feel bad that he was arrested," Kinlock said. "He's a good father, and that's coming from his father-in-law."

 

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