Infant was left in SUV all day
Police find no evidence of foul play in child's death, but case will go to grand jury
Saturday, September 22, 2007
By LAURA ZAICHKIN
Staff Reporter
An 8-month-old girl, who was found dead Thursday evening in her father's sport utility vehicle, had been in there all day, police said.

Phong Tran, 27, of Mobile unintentionally left Kaleen Tran in his Dodge Durango after dropping his two other children off at Little Flower Catholic School on Government Street about 7:30 a.m., said Officer Eric Gallichant, a Mobile Police Department spokesman.

Tran realized that his daughter was still in the SUV when he returned to Little Flower, a school for 3-year-olds through eighth-graders, at 5:45 p.m. to pick his kids up from after-school care, Gallichant said.

The National Weather Service in Mobile said temperatures Thursday in Midtown reached 89 degrees, and would have reached more than 100 degrees inside a vehicle.

Police Department investigators found no evidence of foul play and have not made any arrests, Gallichant said. He said the case will be presented to a Mobile County grand jury.

Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson Jr. said Thursday evening that all indications were that the Trans were a "wonderful" family.

Upon the discovery of Kaleen's body, Tran began to experience medical distress and was taken to Mobile Infirmary for treatment, Gallichant said. He would not specify the nature of Tran's distress.

Thursday evening, the infant's mother was visiting Tran at Mobile Infirmary, Tyson said.

The exact cause of death will be determined after an autopsy is conducted, Gallichant said.

Exactly four weeks before this death, a 9-month-old was found dead in a vehicle at an Ocean Springs, Miss., bank. The Ocean Springs Police Department said the infant was found at 4 p.m. Aug. 30 and had been in the vehicle all day.

A July Associated Press article reported that about 340 children had died of heat exhaustion while trapped inside vehicles within the past 10 years. The article said most of the deaths occurred when children were left in vehicles by a caregiver.