Baby girl dies in a hot car; foster father arrested
WICHITA, Kan. (CNN) — A 10-month-old girl died in a hot car — the latest in a string of hot-car child deaths in the United States — and her foster father who was arrested told police he simply forgot she was in the back seat.
The 29-year-old man told police he picked up his foster child from a babysitter at about 4 p.m. Thursday, drove home and went into the house, forgetting the child was there, according to Lt. Todd Ojile of the Wichita Police Department.
Investigators say the girl was locked in the car with the windows up for about 2 1/2 hours. Temperatures in the Wichita area reached the low 90s on Thursday.
The foster father was in the process of adopting the girl with his partner, according to police.
“Both were extremely upset,” Ojile said.
Ojile says the couple’s other children have been removed from the home as the investigation continues. The couple are the adoptive parents of two children and are foster parents to four others, with ages ranging from 3 to 18, he said.
On Friday, Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore ordered immediate home inspections for all adoptive and foster families associated with the agency that approved the couple for foster care.
The 29-year-old foster father, whose name was not released by police, was booked on an aggravated endangerment charge but has not been formally charged. Ojile said the district attorney could file charges as early as next week.
So far in 2014, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, there have been at least 18 heatstroke deaths of children left in vehicles.
In one highly publicized case, a Georgia father remains in jail awaiting trial on murder and child cruelty charges in the death of his toddler son, who was left in the father’s SUV for seven hours.