Sept. 10, 2004 06:50 AM

Baby left in hot van dies
Staff, wire reports

A 4-month-old girl died early Friday after being left in a minivan parked outside an office building Thursday for more than three hours.

Police said Kim Crawford, 27, of Mesa forgot to drop off the infant at day care before work. Jordan Crawford remained in the family minivan for more than three hours, her body temperature reaching 109 degrees. 

Crawford told investigators that a phone call with her husband triggered her memory; he had asked about the baby, said Sgt. Randy Force of Phoenix police. She then raced to the minivan and retrieved her daughter.

By then it was noon and 102 degrees outside. Police believe it was likely 120 to 140 degrees in the car.

Jordan was flown to Maricopa Medical Center, where doctors said she had little brain activity and could not breathe on her own. The prognosis wasn't good, Force said, but "we're all hoping for a miracle here."

Force said the 4-month-old died at 2:40 a.m. He said investigators so far have limited their questioning to give the family time to cope with the tragedy.

"On one hand you want to be angry and outraged . . . and then you realize the parents are going through far worse than anything the criminal justice system could do to them," Force said. "By all outward signs they are very responsible parents. Just one morning lapse."

Force said a report will be submitted to the county attorney's office, which will decide whether to file charges.

The vehicle was parked in a lot in the 4700 block of East Elliot Road. Crawford is a trade-magazine editor.

Greta Rogers of Ahwatukee Foothills pulled into the parking lot just as medical teams arrived.

She watched as the baby's father, Greg Crawford, was rushed into the business where paramedics worked on his child and described him as being "white as a sheet."

"How can you be a competent, thinking person and leave your baby in the car?" Rogers said.

"It makes me furious. This kind of thing is too commonplace in this city."

A Phoenix mother is still being investigated after her 7-month-old boy was left in a van outside their home Aug. 10. 

The infant was in the vehicle for more than an hour in 110-degree heat.

When paramedics reached the boy, his body temperature was 108 degrees. He died at Maryvale Hospital.

Vanessa Raban, 29, told police she thought one of her five children would remove the boy from his car seat.

More than a dozen Arizona children have died of hyperthermia in vehicles since 1998, according to the national non-profit group Kids and Cars.

Parents were arrested in at least four of those cases.

A Mesa baby-sitter is awaiting trial in the death of an 18-month-old girl left in her van in July 2003. 

Arizona Republic reporters Lindsey Collom and Emily Bittner contributed to this article.