Baby dies after being left in hot car outside church by family friend while unsuspecting mom attends choir practice inside

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Courtesy KTVK

Courtesy KTVK

PHOENIX, Arizona (KTVK) — Police are investigating the death of a 3-month-baby boy who was apparently left in a car outside an Arizona church for three hours Saturday afternoon.

Officers were called to the Abundant Life Church at 1914 E. Roeser Road in Phoenix about 2 p.m. Saturday in regard to an injured child.

According to police, the baby, Haden Nelson, and his mother spent the night with a 27-year-old friend. Both adults were scheduled to attend choir practice at the church, but Haden’s mother had to be there earlier than her friend.

That friend arrived at the church with Haden and two other children at about 11 a.m.

“Indications are the suspect was a bit late and she and the other children exited the car,” Officers James Holmes wrote in an email to media outlets. “The suspect went immediately into the church for practice.”

When the practice ended at about 2 p.m., Haden’s mother realized her baby was nowhere to be found.

“Everyone began searching the church for the victim and the suspect went to the parking lot; it was then that she found the child still inside the vehicle and in medical distress,” according to Holmes.

The outside temperature was between 95 and 97 degrees, which means the temperature inside the car was much higher.

“It’s obvious that the 27-year-old forgot that the child was in the car,” Holmes said Monday morning. “She was in a hurry. She had something that she had to do, and she didn’t take a minute to make sure.”

Haden was rushed to a local hospital, but doctors could not save him.

“You cannot imagine what this lady is going through right now, what this family is going through …,” Holmes said.

Police released the woman, whose name has not been released.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will determine if she will face charges in connection with Haden’s death.

As of Friday, 27 children have died of heatstroke after being left in hot cars this year, according to, a national nonprofit group dedicated to keeping kids safe in and around cars.

Haden is No. 28.

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  • denise

    Yes the women needs to go to jail to many people are to much into their own lives. to many kids are dieing tell they start putting everyone in jail that does this it is going to keep happening.It makes me sick to have to continuously be reading these stories about helpless little kids that depend on adults to keep them safe and they’re the ones killing them

  • Teresa Boser

    Yes indeed the woman should pay the consequences and face jail time. She didn’t leave her own children in the car so why leave the baby? I cannot fathom that a person can forget that they have a child in their car. They obviously have to see the child when they exit the car and shut the door. I cannot believe that any normal person would consider that an accident. Yah she was running late but whats another 2 minutes? That’s all it would have taken for her to get that little baby out of the car. I hope she rots in hell. She needs to be put in a jail cell that is 105 degrees for 6 hrs unattended and see how she likes it. The jailers or whomever can say ‘ oh, we were late for a meeting and forgot she was in there” She deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent!!!!!

  • IP 145.344.032

    These aren’t repeat offenders… and what punishment could possibly be worse than what they are already going through? Besides, there has to be this thing called “criminal intent” — even manslaughter charges need some form of unlawful action which acts a catalyst to the death. All you have here is simply forgetting to turn off the oven.

    • steve

      It’s not like she burned a batch of cookies you moron. Its a CHILD. She was NEGLIGENT in her responsibility to the care of someone whom she was entrusted to care for. Throw the book at her!!

    • Julie

      You are a F-ING IDIOT!!!!!!What are you talking about, forgot to turn off the oven!!!! A baby died because this selfish idiot “FORGOT” to get the baby out of the car. U r an idiot!!!!!!!!

    • IP 145.344.032

      Certainly the outcome isn’t the same as burning a batch of cookies, but the required mindset for leaving a child in the car is the same as forgetting to turn the oven off. Our brains don’t always remind us of every detail in our lives — its a human failing not a personal one. Should a person be called a criminal for something that lacks any criminal intent? Again I say no. Name calling is so much easier than critical thinking.

      • Levi

        Critical thinking? If a child is such a minute detail in your oh so busy life to go sing, then you should not have kids nor be involved in baby sitting. Your brain should at the very least be able to prioritize importance of life over something so trivial as singing for a community gathering, late or not. This person was absolutely 100 percent negligent in taking care of another person’s life. It’s not like the kid can look out for themselves, that’s the responsibility of an adult. Do you realize, it takes 10 seconds to look in the back seat? You can accomplish this by just glancing through the window while shutting your door. P.S. I didn’t call anyone names. But I will criticize you for your “critical thinking” efforts. Your critical thinking needs some work.

  • Desiree Angelo

    Yes she should go to jail you do not forget about having a baby in the car. She made sure the other kids were out of the car. If I was the mother of the baby I would like that she pay the price of killing her baby.

  • NoU

    I honestly cannot understand people who forget children that are under their care… Even before I had a kid of my own, when I babysat, I always remembered they were under my care. But what else I don’t get is why the mother didn’t just take her baby with her instead of leaving him behind for the friend to bring later. As a parent who feels my child is my responsibility, I wouldn’t leave my baby behind just so I can make it to choir. Mind boggling.

  • jessica

    i am sorry but i had a horrible accident involving a baby but how in the fuck do you leave one child and not your own the mother is paying not her i just dont think it was accidental it was negligence there is no way id leave my kids i have 4 in the car in heat.

  • lynne

    What I do not understand and none of these comments are mentioning is the lady took her 2 kids out of the car but not other womans so someone needs to think and look at that whole scenerio that is not a reasonable scenario in the least bit and the momma should have been waiting for her baby so you all put this together very very fishy to me

  • Susan

    Yes the lady left the child in the car which makes no sense did you expect the 3 month old to get out by themselves. On the other had if someone is watching your child when they arrived at the same place would you not go question them as to where is my baby. It is just as much the mothers fault


    I agree with Susan, when I leave my child with someone right when I see them the first thing I thing I would think of is where is my kids…

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