Left in a car parked on a residential street for 'several hours'

Sheriff's office, FBI investigating death of 3-year-old in hot car

The Wednesday death of a 3-year-old boy who was left in a parked car in Hardin is under investigation.

Big Horn County Coroner Terry Bullis said Jaren Blacksmith died late Wednesday afternoon or early evening after being left in a car parked on a residential street for “several hours.”

The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation are conducting a joint investigation of the death. Debbie Bertram, FBI Salt Lake City Division spokeswoman, said the car was discovered in a driveway and that law enforcement was called at about 6 p.m.

“Beyond that, we are involved because, as I understand, (Jaren) is an enrolled (Crow) tribal member,” she said.

Bullis said an autopsy determined the boy died from hyperthermia, a condition caused by elevated body temperature.

According to the National Weather Service’s Billings office, the high temperature in Hardin that day was 93 degrees.

Bertram did not release the estimated temperature in the car or other details about the incident because it is an ongoing investigation.

“This is a collaborative effort, and we do that so we can pursue the appropriate charges,” she said. “Or to determine if charges will be filed at all.”

She said that as of 5 p.m. Friday, nobody had been taken into custody in relation to the investigation.

The boy was from Lodge Grass, but he was in a foster care home in Hardin, Bullis said.

The Big Horn County sheriff and undersheriff declined to comment.

Dave Sibley, deputy county attorney, confirmed the ongoing investigation and said more details would be released at a later time.

He referred further questions to the FBI offices in Salt Lake City.

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