Baby left in truck, dies

Friday, June 24, 2005 4:15 PM CDT

Daily Light Managing Editor

Emergency efforts were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon in trying to revive 6-month-old Mika Michele Terry, who had been left in a vehicle outside a church in Maypearl, police said.

Dispatched first to the scene was Maypearl Police Chief Nathan Bickerstaff, who found an emotional father holding his infant daughter inside the sanctuary upon his arrival at about 1:15 p.m. at the Ranch House Cowboy Church, located on Farm-to-Market 66.

And it was a saddened Bickerstaff who described the scene in an interview this morning.

"When I got there, there was a lady standing outside who told me, 'They're inside,' " Bickerstaff said. "I got there and started CPR on her; I thought I had a pulse. The fire department arrived, and their monitor showed a light pulse, but ... evidently she had been in the truck too long.

"It was a sad day yesterday. It tore me up. I wish I could have saved her life, but I was unable to," he said.

Although the roadway is within the city of Maypearl's jurisdiction, the church is in the county's, with the investigation into the incident falling under the jurisdiction of the sheriff's office, which also responded to the scene.

The infant's father is cooperating with authorities and told them he was supposed to have dropped the child off at a daycare, but forgot she was in his pickup, sheriff's Lt. Danny Williams said, noting estimates place the child as having been in the back seat of the unlocked four-door pickup for about four hours.

The father, 32, had gone to the church to do some construction work, he said.

"We did confirm the child had been left alone in the vehicle," Williams said, describing the child as unresponsive on deputies' arrival. "The child was transported by East Texas EMS to Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie."

Bickerstaff said firefighters took over CPR from him, with East Texas EMS arriving and starting intravenous fluids and continuing the CPR through the child's transport to the hospital, where lifesaving efforts continued until she was pronounced dead by a physician, with Justice of the Peace Curtis Polk also called out.

The child's body was ordered to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Child Protective Services and the Ellis County Child Fatality Task Force also have been notified of the incident.

When the investigation is completed, the matter will be referred to the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office for review and consideration of whether or not any charges would be filed, Williams said.

It's a good family with good parents, Bickerstaff said, noting the couple has two other children and has been involved in the community.

"The community is really rallying around them," he said. "Everybody in Maypearl is supporting them."