Baby Dies After Being Forgotten in Car

Clarksdale, MS 6/1/11) A three-month-old baby died on Sunday after being left in the family car.

The child's father, Norman Collins Jr., told News Channel 3 he and his wife took the baby to Real Faith Christian Church, where Collins is a minister of music.

He said that in their hurry to prepare for services, he asked a fellow church member to take the baby inside to the daycare. He was later told that person apparently did not hear him.

When three-month-old Norman Collins III was found, he was unresponsive.

Family members said the baby, affectionately known as "Bishop," was a precious gem.

His grandfather, Norman Collins Sr., said, "Accidents happen. But you know, we love our son and our daughter-in-law. They know they have our unrelenting support."

Collins Sr. said the baby had just begun to learn to laugh out loud.

"It's been unbelievable. Such a surreal event. And all of us are just really trying to just make it through. Just make it through," he said.

People living near the church couldn't believe what happened.

"There was quite a few people running," recalled Johnny Booker, who lives next to the church. "But I didn't know what they were running for. I just found out later on that day what was going on."

His neighbor is the mother of a one-month-old baby girl.

She said she couldn't imagine leaving her child in this heat, even by accident.

"Makes me want to cry, really. Because I got my own baby," she said.

The Collins family hopes other parents out there won't make the same mistake of leaving any child behind in the incredible heat of summer.

The baby's body was sent for an autopsy in Jackson, Miss.

While Clarksdale police have not confirmed with News Channel 3 that charges have been filed in the case, the police chief was quoted by a Greenville TV station saying the baby's father is charged with negligent manslaughter.

Now the Collins family prepares for the baby's funeral service at Century Funeral Home. It will take place Friday at noon.

"Pray for them, and not be in judgment of people regarding things because no one knows everything that happened. We've just left this in God's hands and we're asking Him to heal us," said Collins Sr.

Infant Dies in Car While Parents at Church

Updated: Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011, 9:31 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011, 9:31 PM CDT

Lynn Lampkin

Clarksdale, Ms - “On the day of his birth, it was as though something wonderful had been sent from Heaven.”

Norman Collins III came into the world weighing six pounds, three ounces. He was the first for his parents, and one of nine grandchildren for Norman Collins Sr.

“We had a special bond. I enjoyed the whole cooing and laughing and him getting angry when he was wet and hungry.”

Little Norman’s life would end tragically just three months after it began, on a Sunday, while his parents were in church.

“My son and his wife came to church with his family as they do every Sunday. As they were exiting the vehicle he instructed someone else to get the baby out.”

The father, Norman Jr. is a Minister of Music, and his wife sings in the choir at Real Faith Christian Church in Clarksdale, Ms. They were running late for the service and asked another church member to take the baby to the nursery inside.

After the service had ended, the father went to the nursery to get the baby and discovered he was not there. Investigators say he then went outside to check the car.

“The infant died as a result of conditions consistent with hypothermia,” said Rodger Harris with the Coroner’s Office.

Temperatures that day reached upwards of 90 degrees.

Norman Jr. is now charged with negligent manslaughter.

Norman Sr. doesn’t think the charge is a fair one, “A lot of people may say, ‘how could you as a parent forget your child?’ It was not a matter of forgetting…I could see if they were negligent parents, if they were at the boat, at the club. They were at church.”

Norman Collins Jr. told Fox 13 that he did feel responsible for his son’s death and it’s something he’ll have to live with the rest of his life.

Collins Jr. appeared before a judge on Tuesday and is now out on $30,000 bond. The case will now go before a Grand Jury.

The church member asked to get the baby out of the car claims not to have heard and is not being charged.

The baby’s funeral has been set for Friday at noon at Chapel Hill Church in Clarksdale.