Doctor says he sees many injuries among children left in cars

05:05 PM Mountain Standard Time on Friday, June 29, 2007

By 3TV staff

A baby left inside a vehicle for almost two hours died Friday morning.

According to Banner Children's Hospital's Dr. Amid Haddad, it only takes your body a matter of minutes to begin to shut down in the Valley heat. Haddad specializes in this type of injury. "Immediately try to get the temperature down by immersing the child in cold water," he said.

Chandler police say that's what Kyle and Elizabeth Brown tried to do after realizing they had left their 3-month-old baby in the car between 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Thursday. "I know she was unresponsive and very hot," said Chandler Police Department spokesman Sgt. Rick Griner. "The parents at that time were trying to cool her down. Her temperature was taken. It was 109 degrees."

Police say Kyle was out running errands. When he got home, he went into the house, forgetting his little girl, Amberlee Elizabeth, was still in the vehicle.

"It's just a sad thing. That's all I can say," said a neighbor of the Browns. Neighbors say they were a large family.

"They have five little girls," a neighbor said. "(They are) a great family, great parents. It was just a tragic accident."

Haddad says it's the kind of accident he sees at least two or three times a month. He says your body temperature could rise from 98 to 104 degrees in less than 30 minutes. He also says when that happens, there's a good chance a baby could suffer permanent damage to the brain and other vital organs like the heart.

Chandler police say no charges have been filed and are still investigating.

Parents won't be tried in kids' hot-car deaths
by Michael Kiefer - Jun. 13, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Two parents whose children died in hot cars last year will not be prosecuted.

Separate grand juries - one in April and one in May - declined to return indictments against Ashly Duchene, who accidentally left her 3-month-old son in a parked car in Phoenix last October, or Kyle Brown, who accidentally left his 3-month-old daughter in a car in Chandler last June while he ran errands.

Both infants died. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office had recommended that both parents be charged with child abuse.
"In both cases, it was our opinion that an indictment should be returned and they both should be charged, or we would not have presented them," said Barnett Lotstein, a spokesman for the County Attorney's Office. "The grand jury disagreed. Whether or not we agree with the grand jury's decision, we accept it."

The County Attorney's Office does not intend to present either case to grand juries again to try to get an indictment.

Brown left his daughter Amberlee in a car for about two hours on June 29 in Chandler. The child was rushed to a hospital in extremely critical condition in the afternoon and died that evening.

Duchene thought she had taken her son Ryan Gallagher to day care when she checked in for her seven-hour waitressing shift at a Hooters restaurant in north Phoenix on Oct. 30. When she returned to her car, she found him still strapped into his car seat. Firefighters could not revive the child.

Prosecutors presented both cases to grand juries, asking they each be charged with a single count of child abuse.

Grand juries consist of 16 people selected from the public. At least nine of them must agree on charges in order to return indictments - formal criminal charges. In Brown's case, the grand jury dismissed the allegation outright, according to Lotstein. In Duchene's case, it asked the County Attorney's Office to prepare a draft indictment and then voted not to return it.

They do not have to say why; and grand-jury proceedings remain secret.

Lotstein said that the decision on which charges to ask for is made by a committee of veteran prosecutors. In the past, they have asked for charges as serious as negligent homicide in hot-car child deaths.

In August 2004, Vanneselt Raban asked her 10-year-old son to take his 7-month-old brother out of the car. The child forgot and the infant died. Raban pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse and negligent homicide, and in June 2006 was sentenced to a year in jail and three years' probation.

In July 2005, Blanca Nunez-Pineda, a Mexican national, was charged with negligent homicide after accidentally leaving her 22-month-old niece in a car. In February 2006, she was allowed to plead to endangerment and was sentenced to the seven months she had already spent in jail and then deported to Mexico.