UPDATED: Police: 5-month-old baby found dead in van

UPDATED: 7:45 p.m.

Metro Police have released the name of the family involved in the Tuesday afternoon heat-related death of a 5-month-old boy at a Donelson church.

The child has been identified as Joel Gray.

His mother, Stephanie Gray, 38, told detectives that she took her two younger children, ages 6 and 9, to school before returning home to pick up up her 11-year-old son and Joel. Gray dropped off the 11-year-old at his middle school, but police said she apparently drove home without dropping Joel off at the Donelson Heights United Methodist Church day care program.

Gray told police that she was home all day with her minivan parked in the driveway.

She returned to the church at 2:30 p.m. to pick Joel up and when workers told her the child had not been there, she ran back to the minivan and found Joel in his rear car seat inside the vehicle, police said.

Joel was taken inside the church, but police believe he had already died from heat exposure.

Yesterday was the child's first day at the preschool.

No charges are being placed at this time, police said. But, the investigation is continuing and police say they are going to consult with the District Attorney's office about future charges.

UPDATED: 5:50 p.m.

Donelson Heights United Methodist Church has left a message for parents saying its early childhood program will be closed on Wednesday after a baby was found dead in the parking lot of the church on Tuesday.

The message said the program could be closed for the remainder of the week.


Metro Police are investigating the case of a baby found dead in a mini van in Donelson.

Police said the report came in shortly before 3 p.m. that a baby was in a vehicle at 84 Fairway Drive at Donelson Heights United Methodist Church.

Police said around 2:30 a woman came to the church which runs a daycare center and said she was there to pick up her 5-month-old son.

The daycare workers told her they did not have the baby, that no one had dropped off the baby Tuesday morning.

The woman ran back outside to her mini van and found the baby inside. She ran back into the daycare center with the baby in her arms, but police said he was already dead due to the extreme heat inside the vehicle.

Temperatures Tuesday afternoon have reached a high so far of 91 degrees, which can cause life-threatening heat inside a car.

Detectives are trying to reconstruct the motherís day to determine what happened.

She has three other children who are all in school.

The mother was so distraught she was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available