By Kevin Murphy
(Reuters) – A foster parent for a 10-month-old Kansas girl who died after being left in a car in sweltering heat for more than two hours has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child endangerment, police said on Friday.
The man had picked up the child at day care and returned to his Wichita, Kansas home at about 4 p.m. on Thursday with the infant and a five-year-old foster child. The man and the older child went into the home without realizing the baby was still in the car, said Lieutenant Dan East of the Wichita Police Department.
The man, 29, later saw something on television that reminded him of the baby, East said. Police were called at 6:40 p.m. and the child was pronounced dead at the scene, East said.
Police withheld the man’s name because he has not been charged, East said. The girl has also not been publicly identified. Cause of death is pending an autopsy, East said.
A second man, who was also acting as the girl’s foster parent, was at home in the back yard when the events took place but has not been arrested or charged, East said.
The temperature in Wichita was 89 degrees at the time the girl was in the car, according to the National Weather Service.
The death was the 18th case in the United States this year of a child dying after being left in a hot car, according to Kids and Cars, a Kansas City-based organization that collects data on such incidents and works to prevent them.
“The most common circumstance we see is that these are wonderful, loving and otherwise responsible parents who literally forget that the child is in the car,” Rollins said.
Kids and Cars is on a petition drive to gather 100,000 signatures by Aug. 12 compelling the White House to ask the federal Department of Transportation to study technology that would prevent deaths of children in hot cars. So far, it has 6,000 signers.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Editing by Carey Gillam and Susan Heavey)
[Crime scene image via Shutterstock]