Archive for Friday, August 24, 2007

2 children found dead in cars in unrelated cases

August 24, 2007


— A 7-month-old infant was found dead in the heat of a parked car Thursday near the Washington University School of Medicine, authorities said. Hours later, a 2-year-old toddler was found dead in a vehicle in a suburb of Cincinnati.

Authorities said the 7-month-old's parents are a doctor and a medical researcher at the university. Their names and the child's name have not been released.

The child had been in the car for three hours, police Capt. James Gieseke said. It's believed the mother left the child in the back seat of the father's car, but that the father thought the mother had taken the child.

A child also was found dead in a sweltering sport utility vehicle in Union Township, about 20 miles southeast of Cincinnati, police said.


Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

Parents seem to be able to avoid murder charges in these cases by claiming that they "forgot" their kids. Yeah, right.

daddax98 9 years, 1 month ago

Cuz' we "Know" they did it on purpose. yeah right

KU_cynic 9 years, 1 month ago

What a stupid headline. One child dies in St. Louis and another in Cincinnati ("hours later") in tragic accidents that have been all too common this summer. But what idiot would infer that these two might be "related"?

Police detective: "We might have a copycat killer on our hands here! Call the FBI profiler!"

Move the headline writer to the sports page so we can read: "KU and K-State win in unrelated football games".

matahari 9 years, 1 month ago

they are almost as smart as a lot of folks I've heard of that splurt and splat kids out of their utereses..they can make another one right? breeders is what we call them~

acg 9 years, 1 month ago

I can't even imagine forgetting your kid. It makes me sick. These people should be put in a hot car and made to endure what those poor children went thru. Poor, sweet babies.

local_support 9 years, 1 month ago

Why kill them if you can just put them up for adoption? Sounds like some very busy parents who had a miscommunication. Unfortunately this miscommunication had severe consequences.

imastinker 9 years, 1 month ago

Why is it that some people are so quick to pass judgement on others on these things? I've never left my kids in a car, but I can see how it could happen accidentally. We are talking about two cases in the whole US, with a population of maybe 100 million kids. Have you guys never been left at a supermarket by a forgetful parent? Have you guys never known anybody that did?

It is very sad that these kids died, but let's not throw bricks if we live in glass houses. Manslaughter is not appropriate for a true accident.

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

These were accidents!

"The child had been in the car for three hours, he said. It's believed the mother left the child in the back seat of the father's car, but that the father thought the mother had taken the child. The 7-month-old had been placed by the mother in a child seat that faces the rear. The father was the last person to have the child."

"The family friend told News 5 that Nesselroad-Slaby left before 7 a.m. for a meeting at school, but decided that was too early to drop off Cecilia and ran some errands.

"The girl fell asleep as her mother ran errands, and the friend said Nesselroad-Slaby likely forgot Cecilia was inside the car because she did not typically take her to day care."

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"the parents should be charged with manslaughter at least."

Well, of course, because the lifetime of grief along with the pain that you caused your own child's death through carelessness isn't punishment enough. We need to send a strong message to these parents - and all of the rest of those "breeders" out there - not to accidently forget their kids in the car. After all that's the only thing holding us all back from murdering our children - fear of prosecution.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

This is just unbelievably awful. There was an incident last week, in Oklahoma, where a new mother was apparently under great emotional distress and "forgot" her newborn in the backseat of her car while she went into a store. A passerby noticed the baby, and called for help and got it out after about 45 minutes; the baby survived.

Someone should invent an infant car seat that, when occupied, makes a loud noise or flashes a light or something as soon as the driver door is opened , or one that makes some kind of noise every five minutes or so when it is occupied. Something is needed to alert parents to the presence of a child in the back seat of the car.

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"The correlation between the rise in these deaths and the 1990s move to put children in the back seat is striking.

"'Up to that time, the average number of children dying of hyperthermia in the United States was about 11 a year,' says Jan Null, an adjunct professor of meteorology at San Francisco State University who has studied this trend. 'Then we put them in the back, turned the car seats around. And from '98 to 2006, that number is 36 a year.'"


"The AP identified more than 220 cases in which the caregiver admitted leaving the child behind. More than three-quarters of those people claim they simply forgot.

"It's easy to forget your keys or that cup of coffee on the roof. But a child?

"The awful truth, experts say, is that the stressed-out brain can bury a thought -- something as trite as a coffee cup or crucial as a baby -- and go on autopilot. While researchers once thought the different parts of the brain worked in conjunction with each other, they now realize that different portions dominate at different times.

"'The value of the item is not only not relevant in these competing memory systems,' says memory expert David Diamond, an associate psychology professor at the University of South Florida. 'But, in fact, we can be more complacent because we tell ourselves, "There's no way I would forget my child."'"


"Nationwide, about 60 percent of cases where the child was left unintentionally result in charges. But policies vary wildly from one jurisdiction to the next.

"At least nine children in Las Vegas have died in hot vehicles since 1998, but charges were filed in only two of those cases. For several years, it has been the policy of the Clark County prosecutor's office not to file charges unless there is proof of 'some general criminal intent ... to put the child in harm's way,' says chief deputy DA Tom Carroll.

"But in Memphis, Tennessee, District Attorney General William L. Gibbons scoffs at the notion that he wouldn't charge someone -- especially a parent -- who claims to have simply forgotten a child.

"'We're not talking in most cases about sending anyone to prison,' says Gibbons, whose office has prosecuted five cases involving nine parents and day-care workers since 1998. 'We are talking about placing someone on probation, maybe requiring them to go to some parenting classes or something like that, and giving them a felony record as a result of what happened.'"

(from What punishment when child dies in hot car?

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"Something is needed to alert parents to the presence of a child in the back seat of the car."

An article on such devices: "Devices exist to keep kids from dying in cars, but few are sold"

A tip from a dad who forgot his son in his car in 2003:

"Inside each of the two family cars is a leather briefcase strap. When Warschauer buckles a child in, he clips the strap to his belt loop, so he can't leave the car without being reminded that he's not alone."

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"The Child Minder system replaces the car seat's harness clip with a 'smart clip' synchronized to a key ring alarm. The unit is activated when the child is buckled in. As long as the child remains in the seat, an alarm will sound if the adult walks more than 10 feet from the automobile.

"NASA is on the verge of licensing its Child Presence Sensor, which replaces the clip with a weight-sensitive pad that fits under the car seat cushion. An alarm sounds 10 warning beeps if the driver moves too far away from the vehicle, and beeps continuously if the driver doesn't return within one minute. Engineers at the agency's Langley Research Center in Virginia developed the device after a colleague left his 9-month-old son in a hot car in May 2000.

"Volvo's flagship S80 sedan includes a Personal Car Communicator that can detect a heartbeat inside the vehicle and send a warning to the driver's wireless key fob. Volvo is marketing it as a safety option for women worried about back-seat attackers, not as a way to remind the driver of a child left behind."

Ceallach 9 years, 1 month ago

Chances are these cases were not intentional neglect by the parents, but they were neglect none the less. Americorps made a good point earlier. Neither of these would have been dismissed so easily had the parents been other than middle to upper income Caucasians. Don't these people talk to each other? Would you put an infant in a car and never say a word to the person who would be driving the car and delivering the child safely to daycare?

I thought unattended deaths always required an investigation. Doctors, medical researchers, etc., can have just as many mental quirks that could make such cases more than accidents. Not saying they were, but the case should have been thoroughly investigated before being pronounced an accident.

stinker, no I was never left in the supermarket by my mother and never left one of mine. Do you seriously think it is that common?

kneejerkreaction 9 years, 1 month ago

Punish these people? Why? They will be punishing themselves every day for the rest of their lives. Like the father in Utah who 'lost' his kid in the mountains and the child died. They punished him, threw him in jail on a child negligence/abuse charge. When he got out he went back to the spot where he lost his child and blew his brains out.

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"Would you put an infant in a car and never say a word to the person who would be driving the car and delivering the child safely to daycare?"

Have you never said something to someone which they didn't hear or understand but which they appeared to acknowledge? Happens in my house all time.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 1 month ago

Americorps made a good point earlier. Neither of these would have been dismissed so easily had the parents been other than middle to upper income Caucasians.

There's no mention of skin color in this article. To assume that they were white just because they are a doctor and a medical researcher is every bit as prejudiced as the fact that black parents would be jailed for the same offense. Yep, bigoted as you think.

Shame on you.

kneejerkreaction 9 years, 1 month ago

Haiku_Cuckoo (Anonymous) says: Yep, Kansas:as bigoted as you think.

I hate that saying. And truly certified idiots even have it on the bumper of their cars. Go live somewhere else, then.

Celeste Plitz 9 years, 1 month ago

That is just so sad.

Those families will live with that their whole lives, I don't think jail will punish them any more than they are already punishing themselves. This sort of thing happens in Arizona all the time-both kids and dogs. The Chandler Police Department just last week lost one of their dogs because the head of the K-9 department left him in the car for 12 hours. And that car had an alarm. But because the car was turned off, it didn't work. :(

So even an alarm won't prevent every death.

Such a terrible story. My heart goes out to the families.

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"There's no mention of skin color in this article."

I had the impression that americorps didn't assume anything about race from the parents' jobs. S/he brought up the topic after doing a little research. I did a brief google search and came up with similar data.

guesswho 9 years, 1 month ago

So many people quick to judge. It is so easy to go on autopilot and make a simple mistake with such tragic consequences. No jail sentence could amount to any pain/suffering that those parents have, but why make it worse on the spouse or other kids?

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

Costello, thanks for the great info. I am ordering the baby alert for my grandbaby.

Ceallach 9 years, 1 month ago

mea culpa, in my anger I spread the net too wide. Another instance of anger not serving me well. (I blame my mother for marrying an Irishman.) Mine was truly a "knee jerk reaction," not a bigoted remark, cuckoo, and I think you probably know that.

I should know better than to be so defensive, Vick is in the process of reminding us all that the color that truly trumps all others is green. (But I am still hanging on to the middle to upper income part of the remark.)

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"Costello, thanks for the great info. I am ordering the baby alert for my grandbaby."

I don't have any small children any more, but I have a friend who just started doing foster care. She now has an infant and a toddler. I'm going to tell her about these.

Maybe this tragedy will make more parents aware that this technology exists, and some other child's life will be saved.

Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

Many parents kill their children every year. This is just an easier way for them to only be charged with neglect, rather than murder. They see other parents get away with it on TV, and they know it's a lighter sentence (if any).

costello 9 years, 1 month ago

"Many parents kill their children every year. This is just an easier way for them to only be charged with neglect, rather than murder. They see other parents get away with it on TV, and they know it's a lighter sentence (if any)."

The vast majority of parents love their children very much and want what's best for them. They don't want to hurt them, and they don't want to kill them.

Of the parents who do kill their children, most do so accidentally. It may be an understandable accident or it may be due to abuse. Those who kill through abuse usually haven't set out to kill their child; they think they're "disciplining" them.

A very few parents are such sociopaths that they set out deliberately to murder their children. Susan Smith, for example, found her children inconvenient, so she drowned them. A few parents have actually killed their kids for life insurance.

I don't believe there are vast numbers of parents watching the news about these car deaths with a gleam in their eye and thinking, "Ah ha! That's how I'll do away with little Tommy and Susie."

Parents may be stupid or careless, but most of them love their children like nothing else in the world. You must not have children, Confrontation, or you'd understand the powerful love that people have for their own kids. When my son was born 22 years ago, the power of my love for him took my breath away. I'd never experienced anything like it. And I still feel that way today. If anything happened to him, it would rip my heart out. And if anything happened to him due to my negligence, I don't know how I'd go on living. It would utterly destroy me. Other people feel that way about their children too.

I refuse to join you in your bleak worldview.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 1 month ago

States the plain and simple truth:


KansasPerson 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't remember hearing about babies being left in cars quite so much in years past. I know this is going out on a limb, but might it have anything to do with having cell-phone conversations while parking and leaving the vehicle? I don't want to open up a whole can of worms here, with every J-W commenter coming down on me like a load of bricks with sarcastic "Let's ban cell phones then!!", but I have noticed a certain amount of "going on autopilot" (as in the article that Costello quoted) when having phone conversations -- much more so than when having in-person conversations.

Or (leaving phones out of it) maybe people are attempting to keep too many different things in their minds at the same time?

storm 9 years, 1 month ago

I think more children are dying because they have to ride in the backseat. Or maybe it's because we have news 24/7 so it seems more so. Or a combination of parents being distracted by the cellphone and children in the backseat.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

kansasdaughter, as I understand, the baby had been in the car for several minutes before the passerby saw it; then the good samaritan went inside the store to call for help; then others gathered to help; medical help arrived shortly after the call was made. Luckily the baby survived.

I, for one, will be more observant as I walk through parking lots in the future.

These backward facing infant carseats are a menace.

I recall the fun I had driving with my kids when they were young, talking to them and calling out the names of things we saw as they sat in their forward facing carseats in the front seat next to me. Of course, there were no potentially decapitating airbags in the cars back then.

I can guarantee that parent-child interaction does not happen while a kidlet is strapped/trapped in the backseat, looking up at the sky in retreat, or, more likely, staring in a bored stupor.

No wonder our babes are plagued by autism and ADHD.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

I still, instinctively, throw my right arm out to shield my front seat passengers upon braking or making turns. Old habits die hard.

chemegirlie 9 years, 1 month ago

Godot- my grandma got in the habit of that when her kids were young and now she even still does it to my grandfather.

hawklet21 9 years, 1 month ago

How sad is this story? I just wish that these parents could be locked in a hot car, even if only for an hour, in order to possibly understand how horrific the deaths of their children could be. I know they must be punishing themselves enough, but there is absolutely no excuse for "forgetting" a young, helpless child.

Tom McCune 9 years, 1 month ago

When I lived in Tennessee, a wealthy local restaurant-chain owner had this happen while on vacation in South Carolina. He thought she had the kid, but the kid was actually asleep in the back seat. The kid died when he left the Suburan parked in the sun. I knew him slightly. This was a happily married affluent couple with several other kids. In this particular case, I am positive it was an honest mistake.

South Carolina prosecuted him for mansalughter. Jury verdict = not guilty. After the fact, the citizenry of South Carolina gave the DA who prosecuted this case lots of trouble not for losing, but for wasting so much of their court time and money on a case that was such an obvious case of honest but tragic human error.

danapoint2lawrence 9 years, 1 month ago

We should "accidently" lock the parents in the car...

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