Infant dies in Boise when left in car

BOISE (AP) - A 10-week-old infant died of excessive heat after his mother forgot the baby was in her sport utility vehicle, authorities said.

The unidentified woman was not immediately charged, but police said on Thursday they would turn investigative findings over to the prosecutor.

Mike Webb of the Boise Police Department said the woman, back on the job for just the third day after maternity leave, became distracted by a cell phone call to her mother as she drove to work on Wednesday and forgot to drop the infant off at child care.

She worked through the day with no breaks, Webb said, and only realized the child had been in the closed-up car all day as she was driving home.

"Tragedy struck her then," Webb said. "She jumped out of the vehicle and went around to the right rear passenger seat and found the baby. The baby was not responsive."

She took the baby, Hunter Kelly, to a nearby hospital, where he was declared dead.

Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said triple-digit temperatures drove the temperature

in the car to at least 130 degrees within the first hour it sat in the parking lot. He said the infant was dead in less than two hours.

The woman and her husband shared child care responsibilities, Webb said, and her husband had taken their 19-month-old son to his day care center that morning.

"They're trying to work hard to make a living. It appears it was an oversight," Webb said. "This is clearly a human tragedy. However, parents have a strong responsibility to care for their children and not be negligent. It is the responsibility of the Boise Police Department to continue to investigate."

A friend of the family, identified by Webb as Allison Nuxol, issued a statement calling the infant's death "a tragic accident that occurred yesterday to my friend and her family. They are mourning the loss of their son."

Webb said the preliminary investigation could be completed by the weekend and initial information turned over to prosecutors, but it would be weeks before the full investigation was complete.

Possible charges include involuntary manslaughter and felony injury to a child, Webb said.

In the past 10 years, more than 300 children have died from heat after being left in unattended cars, according to National Safe Kids Campaign.

Pocatello children, animals have had safe summer, so far

POCATELLO - So far this summer, Pocatello's children and pets have not sustained any injuries while left unattended in motor vehicles.

The Pocatello Police and Animal Shelter said they have Pocatello's alert citizens to thank for that.

"We've been really lucky. People around here are just really cognizant of that sort of thing. It doesn't take long, after a child is left unattended, for someone to see that and call," said Pocatello Police Capt. Kirk Nelson.

Nelson said Pocatello has not had an incident, in his memory, where a death resulted from a child being locked in a car.

No emergencies of this nature have occurred this summer, Nelson said. He said they routinely respond to calls on children and pets left unattended in cars.

"We've had to force our way into a car on a few occasions to get young kids out," Nelson said.

When Pocatello Police encounter a situation where a child needs to be removed they will do whatever it takes to get them out.

If time allows they can open the car with their own tools or call a locksmith. In an emergency they will break a window.

"It doesn't take very long (to become dangerous) even with the windows rolled down a little bit. It gets awful hot," Nelson said.

Nelson said they field such calls in the summer and even in the winter.

The Pocatello Animal Shelter gets a call almost everyday reporting an animal left in a vehicle, said Mary Remer, the shelter's manager.

Usually, the vehicle has already moved on by the time an officer arrives, Remer said.

She said leaving a dog in the bed of a truck is also a problem.

"The dog stands back there in the heat and it is really hard on them," Remer said.

She said the temperature in one truck bed the Animal Shelter gauged this summer reached 118 degrees.

Although they receive a large number of reports, the Animal Shelter has found no animals this summer killed by the heat.

"We have not found any this year. Not even overheated dogs," Remer said.

She recommended leaving animals at home and in the shade. She also suggested leaving a small children's swimming pool for a pet to play in or drink from when it's hot.