Infant dies in parked vehicle
Autopsy is pending
By MARGARET BAKER
mbbaker@sunherald.com

JAMES EDWARD BATES/SUN HERALD
Law enforcement officers assist the Jackson County Coroner's office in transporting the body of a child that died from heat exhaustion on Thursday in Ocean Springs.

OCEAN SPRINGS --Alec Williams was crossing the railroad tracks on south Washington Avenue when he saw a firetruck whip into the BancorpSouth parking lot at the corner of U.S. 90.

He didn't have time to turn down his car radio before he heard the screams of a woman he saw wandering around a black sport-utility vehicle.

Who it was he couldn't say, but he believes she's somehow related to the 9-month-old baby whose death in the vehicle is now under investigation.

"She was pretty hysterical," Williams said Thursday. "It looked like she didn't know what was going on. She was kind of out of it."

What Williams and other motorists buzzing by the busy intersection around 4 p.m. saw were Ocean Springs firefighters and police officers responding to a report that an infant had been left in the parked SUV in the bank's parking lot all day long.

Ocean Springs Deputy Police Chief Mark Dunston confirmed the infant in the car was "unresponsive" when authorities got there.

Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus later arrived at the scene; the infant was taken away in her van. She confirmed the child had died. An autopsy was pending.

Ocean Springs police, however, were not releasing any details Thursday night about the events leading up to the baby's death. No one could say how long the child had been in the vehicle.

Ocean Springs Police Lt. Keith Havard is in charge of the probe; he said it was too soon to release any information other than the few details already released in Dunston's written statement. Police did not identify the infant or the infant's parents.

Williams and others who stopped to ask what had happened were stunned. Williams said he'd already seen a friend suffer over the loss of child, but in much different circumstances.

If it was the heat that took the infant's life, Williams wants to know why.

"How many times does this have to happen?" Williams said.