Baby dies; forgotten in hot van
Boy left in Cordova parking lot

September 11, 2005

A 5-month-old boy died Saturday afternoon when his parents apparently left him in a van for two hours in the parking lot of their Cordova apartment, Memphis police said. 

Police and paramedics were called to the Grove Apartments, at 504 Glen Arbor, about 4 p.m., when the parents found the child not breathing, police said. 

The parents told police they'd forgotten the baby in the van when they came home from church about 2 p.m. They had other children who got out of the van, but noticed about 4 p.m. that the baby wasn't in the apartment, police said. 

Paramedics were unable to revive the baby. He was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, where he later died. 

The homicide bureau was investigating Saturday. No charges had been filed. 

In the Memphis area, four children have died in day care vans since 1997. Another child died in a family car after being forgotten by her father. There have been several near-misses. In June, Blessed Beginnings Learning Academy on Millington Road gave up its license after a 23-month-old was forgotten in a van. 

Temperatures rise quickly inside closed vehicles on hot days like Saturday, when the outside temperature was nearly 90 degrees. 

Golden Gate Weather Services, which tracks such deaths, said nationwide there have been at least 32 child fatalities in vehicles due to hyperthermia so far in 2005. In 2004, at least 35 infants and children died in the United States after being left in hot vehicles. 

Some of these deaths occurred on days with relatively mild temperatures. In 2003 there was a record 42 such deaths. 

Recently in the Memphis area, parents have faced charges after leaving infants and toddlers in hot cars. 

In June, a Memphis woman was charged with reckless endangerment after leaving her 1-year-old son in a van at a Bartlett store, where customers freed him after the child spent at least a half-hour in 96-degree heat. 

The child was unharmed but sweating heavily by the time Bartlett police officers arrived. The child's mother, Angela Milam, told police she thought she had dropped the child off at his grandmother's house along with her other children. 

Last year, 7-month-old Mia McKim died after she was left in a car for several hours on Aug. 9 at Central North Church in Bartlett. Her father, Stephen McKim, a youth minister at the church, was charged with criminally negligent homicide. 

McKim was rushing to work that morning, talking on the cell phone with another minister, when he forgot to drop Mia at day care. She died of hyperthermia after temperatures inside the car topped 128 degrees.