Missing Fort Worth toddler found dead in neighbor's car
Posted Thursday, May. 27, 2010 Print Share Buzz up!Reprints

By DEANNA BOYD

dboyd@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH -- An 18-month-old boy found in a neighbor’s car this afternoon after going missing from his family home less than an hour earlier has died from apparent heat exposure, officials said.

Fort Worth Police were dispatched to the 2900 block of McKinley Avenue in north Fort Worth about 12:30 p.m. on a report of a missing child.

Sgt. Chad Mahaffey, a police spokesman, said the boy’s parents, who both work night shifts, had called police after waking up and finding their son gone.

Mahaffey said the boy’s grandmother, who typically watched the child in the morning while the parents slept, had apparently left the residence about noon to visit the nearby home of another family member. The child had been asleep when she left, Mahaffey said.

“Shortly thereafter the mom woke up and could not find the 18-month-old,” Mahaffey said. “The mom saw the front door was closed but not locked, which is unusual, and called police.”

Mahaffey said one of the responding officers spotted a small step stool next to a Nissan Altima parked in a neighbor’s driveway.

“The officer walked up to the car and saw what appeared to be an infant inside,” Mahaffey said. “The car doors were locked. The officer broke out the window immediately and removed the infant.”

Mahaffey said the officer rushed the child into a cooler climate until he could be transferred by ambulance to a local hospital. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital, Mahaffey said.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, police had begun to remove the yellow crime scene tape that had stretched from the 18-month-old’s home to the neighbor’s residence. A turquoise step stool still sat next to the passenger side of the Altima.

Mahaffey said the crimes against children unit is investigating.

“Although we’re in the preliminary stages of the investigation, at this point there’s nothing to indicate foul play,” Mahaffey said. “However, investigators will review the entire timeline of the day’s events as well as the familial history and they’ll determine the physical capabilities of this particular 18-month-old.”

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.