10-year-old trapped in SUV dies

DAVID L. TEIBEL
Tucson Citizen

The body of a 10-year-old boy missing Wednesday was found some 200 feet from his far South Side home.
He was in the caged cargo area of an old, surplus firefighting SUV, where he apparently had become trapped while playing. Sheriff's deputies said he died of the heat.

The caged area in the Chevrolet Suburban had no latches that would have allowed the boy, Jesse Hayes, to get out of the vehicle and away from the extreme heat, said Deputy Dawn Barkman, a sheriff's spokeswoman. She did not know how he got into the vehicle and the caged area. The Suburban's windows were rolled up, and the boy could not reach the window cranks from the caged area to roll them down, Barkman said. The boy last had been seen by his family around 10 a.m. Wednesday near his home in the 1500 block of East Petaluma Lane, near South Nogales Highway and East Old Vail Connection Road, Barkman said. Family members called the Sheriff's Department at 9:20 p.m. to report him missing, Barkman said, adding she did not know why they waited nearly 12 hours.

A deputy who took the call gathered information from the family and put the boy's name in a law enforcement computer system as a possible runaway, Barkman said. The family called back at 10:20 p.m., insisting the child was not a runaway and deputies went to the house and searched the area, Barkman said. It was while searching a lot in the 1600 block of East McKain Road with a number of vehicles on it that deputies found the boy's body about 11 p.m., Barkman said. No foul play is suspected, but an autopsy will be done to confirm the cause of death, Barkman said. She did not know which fire department had once owned the Suburban. She said the temperature in a closed vehicle can reach 250 degrees or more in the summer.