Child dies after being left in hot car

08:32 PM CDT on Sunday, July 27, 2008
By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer

A 14-month-old boy died about 4 p.m. today at Children’s Medical Center Dallas after being left in a van in front of his family’s house in the Savannah area for an hour in 100-degree heat.

Savannah is a freshwater supply district east of Denton on U.S. Highway 380. Denton County sheriff’s deputies and an Aubrey ambulance responded to the 1300 block of Pinehurst Street about 2:40 p.m., said Sheriff’s Sgt. Roger Griggs. They found the child unconscious, and Aubrey paramedics called for a CareFlite helicopter to take him to the Dallas hospital.

Griggs said the father, mother and their three sons had been visiting a water park in two vehicles.

“The father and their 10-year-old and a family friend were in one car,” Griggs said. “The mother and their 8-year-old and the 14-month-old were in a minivan. After they left the water park, the father and the occupants of his car went to the Sonic [Drive-In] to buy lunch for the family. The mother went home and unloaded all their gear from the van. It wasn’t until the father came home that they realized the baby was still in the van.”

The child was unconscious by then, the sergeant said. Efforts by medical personnel were not successful in reviving him.

Griggs said an investigation is continuing into the incident, and the sheriff’s office is not currently releasing the name of the family.

DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is dfielder@dentonrc.com.


Toddler left in car dies in Denton County

08:28 AM CDT on Monday, July 28, 2008

By JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

Jonathan Betz reports
July 27, 2008

DENTON COUNTY — A toddler died Sunday afternoon after being left inside a hot car for more than an hour on a day when temperatures hit the triple-digits.

Family members told police they had spent the early afternoon at a nearby water park. When they returned to their home in the 1300 block of Pinehurst Drive in the Savannah community, there was apparently some confusion about who was responsible for bringing 16-month-old Markus Lewis inside.

Emergency personnel were summoned shortly before 3 p.m., when the National Weather Service listed the official temperature at Denton Regional Airport at 101.

"The child was left in the car for at least an hour unattended," said Sgt. Roger Griggs of the Denton County Sheriff's office, who said lunchtime preparations were under way when they started wondering where Markus was.

"The mother went out to the van, and that's where the child was -- inside the van with the windows up," Sgt. Griggs said. "The child was unconscious."

Emergency workers began CPR while arrangements were made to fly the young victim to a hospital.

Neighbor Chuck Schaefer said the boy's father was very, very upset. "He was on his hands and knees on the hot pavement just crying -- praying. I heard him say, 'Father, be with my son; don't let him die.'"

Other neighbors on Pinehurst Drive began praying after they heard the commotion.

"I have my own kids; I have five of them, and I could not imagine this happening to me," said Hector Gonzalez, who lives nearby. "We're believers in Jesus Christ and the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ, so I started commanding that baby to resurrect."

Markus was taken by helicopter to Children’s Medical Center Dallas, where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the boy's parents will face charges for negligence.

On Monday in Dallas, 19-month-old Kamila Brown, who may have been left in a day-care van for nearly six hours, was found dead.

Yamessie Dorsey and Kevin Brown, the girl's parents, have started a non-profit organization called Kamila Keep Safe, which will bring awareness to vehicle safety.

Those wishing to donate money to the organization can do so at any Washington Mutual bank branch under the organization's name, Kamila Keep Safe.

Dallas Morning News staff writer Scott Goldstein contributed to this report.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com