Tot found dead, left in daycare SUV 8 hours

Associated Press

Aug. 21, 2003 07:05 AM


DALLAS - A toddler was left in a sweltering sport utility vehicle for eight hours after a daycare worker picked him up in the morning but never took him out of the back seat, police said. The boy was found dead after a frantic search.


The driver found the 8-month-old boy's body between the SUV's back seat and its rear door after he received a phone call Wednesday afternoon. The driver flagged down a passing patrol car and told an officer that a child in the back of the Chevrolet Suburban wasn't breathing.


The driver turned himself in to police, the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday. Police spokeswoman Janice Houston said no charges have been filed and the case is likely to be referred to a grand jury, the newspaper said.


Police did not immediately release the names of the driver or the child.


The boy's grandmother came to pick him up at T&T Tots Day Care & Learning Center in Oak Cliff Wednesday afternoon and discovered the child had never arrived.


"Someone had placed the baby in a carrier seat between the back seat and the door. Whoever was driving forgot about it or didn't know about it," said police Sgt. Curtis Brown.


The county medical examiner pronounced the child dead at the scene. Results of an autopsy were expected Thursday.


The temperature ranged from 95 to 98 degrees in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon, said Chris Robbins, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.


"Inside the car, it could have been 130 to 140 degrees, especially if the car wasn't parked in the shade," Robbins said.


There have been 36 reported heat-related deaths involving children left in vehicles in the nation this year, and Texas has the highest number with nine, according to San Francisco State University. Florida has reported five, Arizona four and California three.