Despite numerous warnings every summer not to leave children and pets in hot cars, year after year there are reports of this happening.
The latest victim is a 5-year-old boy who died after being left in a hot van more than eight hours in Arkansas on Tuesday.
Little Christopher Gardner, who had special needs, was forgotten in a transport van outside his daycare facility in West Memphis’s 91 degree weather from 7:15 a.m until he was found unconscious at 3:30 p.m. local time, when staff went to load up children to take them home.
Police believe Christopher may have been asleep in his booster seat when the van arrived at the daycare that morning.
The daycare facility, Ascent Children’s Health Services of West Memphis, takes care of children who need occupation physical therapy and special needs services. Christopher had been going to the daycare since he was one because he had undergone two heart surgeries. He was at the facility for developmental issues.
NBC News reports that West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oaks told reporters that the temperature inside a van near the one Christopher died in was recorded at 141 degrees.
An employee who was tasked with checking that all children were out of the van failed to do so, and yet Christopher was still checked in as present at the daycare that morning.
The case will be forwarded to the Crittenden County district attorney but no charges have been filed. The Arkansas Department of Human Services is also investigating.
Speaking to WMC News, Christopher’s great grandmother Carrie Smith, said, “You can see that my great-grand baby suffered in that van. They didn’t get off their a** and look and I’m very upset about it.”
“There were policies in place to prevent this situation from happening,” said Oaks.