Idaho sheriff's office: Boy, 3, climbs in hot vehicle with 2 dogs; all found dead

SANDPOINT, Idaho — A 3-year-old boy apparently wandered outside and climbed into a hot car with two family dogs Thursday, a north Idaho sheriff's officer said. The boy and the dogs died.

The child's cause of death is under investigation but heat is believed to be a major contributing factor, Bonner County sheriff's Capt. Ror Lakewold said in a telephone interview. Investigators took temperature readings inside the car but Lakewold said he didn't have those figures Thursday night.

Outdoor temperatures reached the low 80s Thursday in north Idaho, the National Weather Service said.

The boy's mother and her boyfriend may have fallen asleep in the house in the small community of Spirit Lake near the Washington border, Lakewold said. Detectives believe the child headed out with the dogs and all three of them climbed into the car. The boy was not locked in the vehicle, the officer said.

The mother found him, called for medics and tried to revive him but he was dead at the scene, Lakewold said.

An autopsy was planned Friday. Detectives are trying to determine how long the boy was in the car, the officer said.

"It's too early in the investigation to say whether charges will be pursued," he said. "Certainly they'll be considered if we can prove negligence."

Lakewold did not release the name of the boy or his mother.

Bonner County Sheriff’s Office - MEDIA RELEASE
June 12, 2015

On June 11, 2015, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office investigated the death of a 3
year old boy, who died after apparently being trapped inside an unattended
vehicle along with two dogs in the 100 block of Walden Lane, Spirit Lake, Idaho.

The child was reported to be playing outside with his dogs at the residence.
Preliminary investigation indicates the child’s mother and her boyfriend were
sleeping in the house when the boy went outside, got into the vehicle with the
dogs, and apparently closed the door behind him. The child was located by his
mother, who attempted lifesaving efforts.

The case remains under investigation pending the outcome of the autopsy and
other details of the case. Heat exposure is suspected as the primary contributing
factor in this tragic death.