UPDATE: The death of an 11-month-old has a community shocked, and wondering why no charges have been filed. We spoke with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, and they explained the situation.
“Every criminal statute has certain elements, and we do not feel those statues have been reached in this case,” Cpt. Kip Judice, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, explained. “This agency takes child care very seriously. If we felt he did anything egregious, he would be in jail.”
On Monday, June 25 the father, officials say, was asked by his wife to take the infant to day care. This was a task he was not typically asked to do. This day was out of the ordinary.
We’re told that at some point in time, the father went to his place of employment and left the infant in the car. The exact details regarding his actions from when he left his home to when he found his child were not released. However, investigators have confirmed the exterior temperature reached 99 degrees and inside the closed vehicle that would have been considerably higher. Reports say the infant could have been in the vehicle for as long as six hours.
“As it stands now, our investigators have not found that there’s any clear criminal connection,” Cpt. Judice said. “This is the most tragic of incidents. This is a situation that’s based on the pressures of today’s times. We’re all so distracted.”
When the father realized what happened, he took the child to Women’s and Children’s Hospital. However, the baby was declared dead minutes after arriving.
Although no charges have been filed yet, officials say that the investigation is still ongoing.
“Certainly no evidence of anything else exists, but an official cause of death has to be determined first,” Cpt. Judice explained. “The autopsy could come back showing a different situation. The child could have a cracked skull and this could be a cover-up. There could be broken ribs. We just don’t know for sure, yet. We can’t make any assumptions.”
However, the likely continuation of the case will come from the District Attorney’s Office.
“In most death cases, of course not all of them, the District Attorney will take the case to a Grand Jury,” Cpt. Judice noted. “At a minimum they will let a Grand Jury review the case, and if they feel there’s criminal negligence, he will be charged.”
Because no charges have been filed at this time, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has not released the name of the father.
“Is he morally responsible? I can tell you that he’s beating himself up pretty bad and that he’s going to see that baby’s face every time he goes to his truck,” Cpt. Judice said. “That’s worse than any prison we can put him in.”
UPDATE: The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has initiated an investigation into the death of an 11-month-old Lafayette child. The child’s father sought treatment at Women’s and Children’s Hospital at approximately 4:54 PM Monday June 25, 2012, however the child was pronounced dead at 4:55 PM.
It was learned that the father of the child forgot to deliver the baby to the day care center and proceeded straight to work where he remained for nearly 6 hours. A fter receiving a call inquiring about his son’s whereabouts the father realized the child had been inside the vehicle throughout the day.
Investigators have confirmed the exterior temperature reached 99 degrees on Monday: inside a closed vehicle temperatures would be considerably higher.
The Lafayette Parish Coroner is conducting additional forensic testing to determine the cause of death The results of the Sheriff’s Investigation will likely be turned over to the District Attorney’s office for review.
ORIGINAL STORY: An infant died yesterday after being left in a hot vehicle throughout the work day. Investigators are still trying to determine how this happened.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office reports that the 11 month old infant was pronounced dead at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital on Monday, June 25. The preliminary investigation reveals that the child had been left in the vehicle for several hours.
So far, five other children have died nationwide as a result of being left in a hot vehicle. The condition is called vehicular hyperthermia.