3-year-old boy dies after left in hot car on Miles College campus

A child died Monday afternoon after being left in a vehicle on the Miles College campus.

Fairfield Police Chief Nick Dyer said the 3-year-old boy was left in the car while the grandmother was at work at the college.

He was discovered unresponsive about 4 p.m. and rushed to Children's of Alabama, where he was pronounced dead. He said the boy is believed to have been in the car since his grandmother arrived for work in the morning just after 8 a.m. It appears both the boy's grandmother and his father are employed at the college.

Effort to reach Miles College officials for comment weren't immediately successful.

Dyer said they will present the case to the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office in the morning to determine whether charges will be filed. "It's a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with the family,'' the chief said.

So far this year, 38 children have died across the United States, including three in Alabama. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1998 and 2016, 738 children died nationwide due to vehicular heatstroke. In 376 of those deaths, or 54 percent, an investigation concluded that the child was simply forgotten by its caregiver. In only 120 of those incidents, or 17 percent, was there sufficient evidence to show the act was deliberate.

In 2016, there were a total of 39 juvenile vehicular hyperthermia deaths nationwide, including two in Alabama.

Earlier this year, Christian Evan Sanders died from hyperthermia - an elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates said Christian was last known to be alive at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, April 7. He was found unresponsive at 4:37 p.m. and pronounced dead at Children's of Alabama at 5:06 p.m.

The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office in July said a three-month probe into the April 7 incident yielded no sign of criminal wrongdoing. "All evidence indicates that this was a tragic accident,'' District Attorney Pro Tem Danny Carr said in a prepared statement.