Family of child left in hot car calls boy's death 'a tragic mistake'

May 10, 2019 06:31 PM

Family and friends of a 4-year-old boy who died after being left in a hot car are calling his death "a tragic mistake."

Prosecutors say Kris Taylor left his son, Riley, inside a car parked outside of CHS Field in downtown St. Paul on May 4.

While working an event inside the stadium, St. Paul police allege Taylor checked on his son at 11:30 a.m but not again until 5:15 p.m. and by then Riley was unresponsive.

Taylor rushed his son to the hospital where the 4-year-old was later pronounced dead. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined Riley died of hyperthermia.

Prosecutors charged Taylor with manslaughter in connection with his son's death.

Following Taylor's first appearance in court Friday afternoon, Riley's family and friends spoke for the first time about his death and what led up to it.

"So many families go through the same thing," said Sonya Bryant, Kris Taylor's mother and Riley Taylor's grandmother. "You work hard day in and day out to provide for your children. When you don't have the proper resources, what other choices do you have?"

Bryant says her son always went above and beyond to take care of Riley and would never do anything to hurt him on purpose.

"Kris is well-loved by his community," said friend Allison McGill. "We just view this as tragic. He's [a] dedicated, devoted father. He works hard. We just want to support him in what is a really hard time."

Bryant says her grandson was known as "Batman Riley."

"[Riley] was so amazing," said Bryant. "Every Friday, he would send me videos. Every Friday, I will continue to have my visits with Batman Riley [through the videos]."

Relatives and friends say their presence in court Friday was a show of support for Taylor.

They applauded the judge's decision to lower Taylor's bond from $25,000 down to $10,000. It allowed Taylor be released from jail late Friday afternoon so he can be with Riley's mom and together grieve the death of their son.

"I just want to hug my son and let him see and feel the support that has always been there for a man who did everything he could and for a woman whose heart is broken," said Bryant.

"He needs to be at home with his family and Riley's mom wants him home," said McGill.

McGill says the family needs help with funeral expenses due to missed work by both parents.

To contribute to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help with Riley's funeral expenses, click here.