Perspectives: When a child dies in a hot vehicle, a word to the infallible

OPINION – When I first heard the news on Friday of a child being left unattended in a hot vehicle in Hurricane, my first reaction was indignant outrage. I immediately envisioned someone thoughtlessly leaving their baby alone while they ran into a store for what they thought would be a few minutes.

When followup reports indicated that the child had died, I felt a flare of anger inside. How could someone deliberately leave a child in harms way? Remember, the key word here is “deliberately.”


Read more: Baby dies after being left inside vehicle in high temperatures

Like a lot of other people, I assumed that the decision to leave the child was a conscious one based in a desire for convenience. But it wasn’t. People who personally know the family involved were the first voices of reason to ask the crowd gathering stones to wait until more information was available.

Even though many tend to jump to the conclusion that this tragedy was the product of malice or recklessness, none of the information released thus far supports this. The investigation is still underway.

Those critics who are calling for harsh criminal charges to be filed against the child’s mother so as to send a message to anyone else who might be tempted to leave a child in a hot car, are missing the point. Human beings are, by nature, fallible.

This tragedy was the result of a mistake that has been made by many others from all walks of life. It will happen again no matter how hard we rage against those who lose a child in this manner. But a horrifying mistake isn’t the same thing as a crime.

A few years ago, Gene Weingarten wrote a revealing piece for the Washington Times about the phenomenon of forgetting a child in a sweltering vehicle. The stories he relates are as compelling as they are heartbreaking.

Too many people think that only a monster could commit such a damning oversight. Or their inflated sense of moral superiority leaves them convinced that they could never make such an irresponsible mistake. They would be shocked to learn what kind of person can and does fall prey to this fatal distraction.

Weingarten spells it out:

What kind of person forgets a baby?

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.

No one is trying to trivialize the agonizing reality that a child has died through no fault of their own. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to engage in emotional grandstanding that equates the parent’s failure of memory with the failure to love their child.

Our sense of injustice is always stronger when a child dies. Their innocence, vulnerability, and the lost potential of a promising young life arouses our deepest sorrows and anger. Too often, our first reaction is to try to assign blame for what we’re feeling.

I was wrong. And so are the individuals who feel a personal sense of duty to heap their condemnation upon the young mother whose life has been permanently changed in way that she is powerless to fix.

One of the questions we should be asking ourselves when weighing in on a tragedy like the one that played out Friday in Hurricane is: Am I doing or saying things that are beneficial or simply adding to the pain of the suffering?

Those who feel a sense of duty to ensure that maximum suffering is enforced might as well join forces with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church in their efforts. When we take it upon ourselves to heap misery upon others, even when we think it may be deserved, it does not make us better.

No matter how perfect we believe ourselves to be, all of us have made foolish choices, bad decisions, or exercised poor judgment in our lives. None of us are infallible.

When we have empathy for others who have made errors, we are not condoning their mistakes. We are exercising our ability to understand what they must be feeling. This enables us to see them as a real person and not just as an object to throw stones at.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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99 Comments

  • Brian August 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Great perspective. The knee-jerk jerks were quick to blame the mother and lambast her in the comments, but it was a very unfortunate accident, entirely unrelated to the mothers love or lack of love for her child. There are certainly people out there that endanger their kids by drinking alcohol around them, doing drugs around them, smoking around them, leaving them in a hot car for convenience, and a myriad of other things. But this was just an unfortunate accident, and it could have happened to any of us.

    • READER August 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      The facts are:
      She ‘decided’ to park down the street.
      She ‘decided’ to run in to use the bathroom.
      She ‘decided’ to leave her baby in a closed car on a very very hot day.
      Whatever happened after that, distracted her from returning to her baby for a ‘substantial amount of time’.
      Those are facts, not opinions.
      Since she ‘decided’ to leave her baby in the car, it CANNOT be called an ‘accident’. It can and should be called ‘negligence’ and ‘child endangerment’ that resulted in a child’s ‘death’.
      To call this an accident is to downplay the real truth: a woman left a baby in a hot car, intentionally, and the baby died a horrible death.
      I don’t care how ‘nice’ the mom was, or how ‘good’ the family is/was. Negligence resulted in death. Negligence resulting in death is a crime.

      • Don August 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

        She was forced to park down the street do to construction.
        When you got to go you got to go, can’t hold it forever
        She forgot the child no doubt a terrible mistake
        But I’m sure you have never forgotten anything except for the facts.

        • Rick Bowler August 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm

          the constuction was to blocks away did you see any construction in the area from all the pictures. no because there isn’t any. I drive down main street everyday.

          • Sense August 5, 2014 at 1:40 am

            She was at the babysitters home when she found her!!! Also she had forgotten she did not leave her baby with a neighbor like she usually does everyday when she drops her other kids off at the babysitters!!! Just imagine yourself in her shoes… How would you be feeling about all the comments people are making that you have already asked your self thousands of times!!! The agony she is feeling not just at the loss of her baby but knowing she forgot her baby in the car!!! You all should be ashamed of yourself’s…. This little girl would not want people to hate on her Mommy!!!!

          • purple Me August 5, 2014 at 7:33 am

            People are making assumptions. Don’t assume there isn’t construction because you drove a different street and couldn’t see it from there at the time you drove by, or didn’t see it in the photos that were taken. Those weren’t panoramic shots. Don’t assume there was a decision to leave the baby there, a lapse in memory is not deliberate or conscious or this could never happen.
            And don’t assume you are morally and mentally superior and could never do something like this.

          • Doug Bringhurst August 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

            She screwed up and it killed a child. Stop with the excuses that she had to use the toilet or there was construction. There is not any going on on her street its all crap. Drive past 480 N and see. She will deal with it the rest of her life your correct. But that type of death where a child is pretty much tortured until she died is excusable. And SENSE would the little baby want MOMMY to leaver her to bake in a car. SERIOUSLY???

        • This was negligent homicide August 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

          No one ‘forced’ her to park. That is an excuse. And it is already on record that she made a definitive decision to leave the baby the baby in the car so she could run in to use the bathroom.
          And by your reasoning, she was justified leaving the baby because she ‘really had to go’??

        • Quit Making Excuses Utahns August 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

          My heart truly does go out for this family. This is the worst thing that could ever happen. And I would never wish it upon anyone. I don’t doubt that this truly was an accident, we all make mistakes.

          However, I would pee my pants before I left my baby in a vehicle alone ! It makes me sick that “a change in routine” is justification for the mother’s mistake per society. Only in Utah. There are things that parents just do not do! You don’t leave your child alone in a vehicle, you don’t leave your child alone in a bathtub, you don’t let your child play near a swimming pool, etc… As a parent you are 100% responsible for health and safety of your child. Quit making excuses for this mother, she needs to face the consequences of the law for her neglectful act and she needs to take full responsibility for her actions instead of hiding behind excuses.

  • Katie August 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Umm..im sorry but i cannot feel sorry. A child should never be left in a vehicle in the heat, the parent made a conscience choice! We live in the desert! Was risking the child’s life worth the “convenience ” if leaving them unattended while they ran inside? Why couldn’t the parent run outside when it turned out it was taking longer? I have 3 children and always have other kids with us as well. I can never imagine leaving my kids on purpose in a vehicle. My world revolves around my kids, i make the extra effort to know my surroundings. When you are a parent, you HAVE to be extra aware ! You make yourself pay attention, you make yourself remember. i have never forgotten my kids, never lost my kids in a store because guess what, I PAY ATTENTION! if you cant, if you are too tired, then dont go out. Stay in! Whatever it is can WAIT! Whatever it.is isnt worth your child’s life!!

    • Seriously... August 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Heaven forbid that perfect Katie ever make a mistake. Your lack of compassion makes me feel sorry for you.

    • Tara August 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I really hope that you NEVER make a mistake with your own children. EVER! Mistakes happen and this poor mother already has guilt. She doesn’t need your rude criticism and lack of empathy to make her feel any worse than I’m sure she already does.

    • MrSmith August 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Why can’t we all be as perfect as you? If we were all like you, there would be no need for a Savior. Words can hurt.

    • Duemas August 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Katie…… duemas!!!

      • Rick Bowler August 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm

        Ever make your child die a horrible death Kaite…nope your doing it right then! its responsibility not perfection and she is parent of the year still because it ok to make a mistake and cook your kid to death in a car! stop the bleeding hearts already!

  • Giuseppe August 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    What were the circumstances that justify this heinous act of leaving a child in a hot car? I hear you asking people to “stop gathering stones” but didn’t offer insight as to how this happened and as too why this incident is different and we need to show compassion for this mother of the year and save our stones for someone else. Please enlighten me as to why I should set aside my personal sense of duty to heap my condemnation upon the mother who baked her child in an oven.

    • READER August 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      The circumstances were that she had to ‘go to the bathroom’.
      You see, she really really needed to go.
      But we still don’t know why she never came back for her baby…

  • Voice of Reason August 4, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Bryan, your line “Like a lot of other people, I assumed that the decision to leave the child was a conscious one based in a desire for convenience. But it wasn’t.” isn’t accurate. There was a conscious decision. The aunt of the dead baby has stated that the mother was “In a hurry” because she “needed to use the restroom”. That seems like a decision based on convenience to me. The other point you make “A horrifying mistake is not the same as a crime”. You’re right, in some cases it’s not. However in this case, I believe it is. The laws are very clear about child abuse. Negligence is abuse. Negligence that leads to a death can be consider manslaughter. The key will be “what would a reasonable person do?” A reasonable person doesn’t leave a child in a car because they’re in a hurry to go to the bathroom.

  • Voice of Reason August 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    You’re also right about another thing. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But the majority of us never make mistakes that lead to the horrible death of our child. 99.99999% of us will never leave a child in a car to cook from the inside out.

  • Suffragette August 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you, Bryan, I can honestly say that I rarely agree with anything you write, but in this case I agree with every single word and appreciate the refererence to Weingarten’s Pulitzer-winning article. I’d like to add that the death of a child because of a mistake (as opposed to an accident or a crime) is incomprehensible to those of us who believe in a merciful God or a just society. In an attempt to make sense of such an event, we assign blame. The shame and vitriol heaped upon the caretaker of a child whose life ends in this manner also helps separate us from such a incident. If we presuppose malice, incompetence, or negligence, we can distance ourselves from the reality that an orderly and well-lived life can quickly become a nightmare, that the unthinkable could also happen to us. I hope we all study the suggested prevention measures and follow them religiously, in case the grace of God isn’t enough to protect us from tragedy one day.

  • Ron August 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Nice to be able to agree with you, Brian. So easy to jump to conclusions before the facts are in.

    • READER August 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      You meant to say ‘So nice to hear someone say what I wanted to hear. So easy to ignore the facts and decide my opinions based on feelings instead.’
      The family has already admitted that the mother left the baby in the hot car on a hot day on purpose so she could run into the house to use the bathroom. That was a purposeful decision. If it’s a crime to leave a dog in a car on a hot day, then why is it not a crime to leave a baby human being?
      Or I could have just jumped to conclusions here…
      Maybe you didn’t realize the facts that came out after the original news report, but she did not accidently leave the kid in the car. She put her needs (bathroom) before her baby’s safety.
      A horrible lapse in judgement that cost a human life.

  • Real Life August 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Not recklessness? I beg to differ.

  • Jacer August 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    The agony that the mother in Hurricane must be going through is enough to even make my heart ache. My prayers are with her. I hope that we in this community can rally around her. She will be hard enough on herself without us making shameful heartbreaking comments. Times like these call for compassion. To the Hurricane family, our family is praying for you.

  • Karen August 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Many, many years ago when my son was old enough to complain loudly about sitting in his car seat there was a safety ad on tv from Primary Children’s Hospital. They showed a cute smiling video of a boy who actually had the same name and looked much like my son. He had been killed in a car crash because he wasn’t properly restrained. It made such an impression on me that we flat out didn’t move out of the garage until my son was properly in his seat even to drive two blocks. Sometimes we sat there for quite awhile and we have always used restraints properly (and still do). I have often thought about that family and the courage it took for them to let Primary Children’s Hospital show their son in the ad.

    I know the media tries to spare the family of children left in hot cars but I think if everyone knew exactly how a child dies in a hot car (they don’t just go to sleep), they would have the same reaction as I did and it would be foremost in their minds every time they put a child in a car seat.

    Only one time have I read a medical description of the circumstances of that kind of death and it has haunted me for years. Maybe only fear will help stop these unnecessary deaths. We need some kind of public service campaign again.

  • Whatshername August 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    What happened was a horrible accident/mistake that had deadly consequences. It’s that the definition of “involuntary manslaughter”. I’m sure that what ever happens to this mother, nothing will ever be as horrible as the guilt and hate she will always put on herself for her negligence. However her mistake led to the death of a child. It’s a crime. Just like if I were to fall asleep while driving and hit and kill someone. It wasn’t intentional, it was a horrible tragic accident. It wasn’t something I set out to do that day, but it happened and I have to deal with the consequences. I don’t think people are out for blood, I think they’re just saying that she should be punished regardless of the fact that she’s a “great mother”, because her mistake lead to the death of another person.

  • coxfam August 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Bryan, thank you for a well written article. I have a hard time painting this young mother as a monster and I can not begin to imagine what the road before her looks like. I am saddened to see so many so full of malice, with no purpose. As the daughter of a person whose life was violently ended, I can speak with a little more experience, and empathy, than most when I say, leave her alone, for most commenting on this, this isn’t a story that affects us; we don’t know this family, and while we mourn the loss of an innocent life, we go on with the day to day of our lives unchanged. Let this family grieve and hopefully find a path to healing.

  • tinker toys August 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    No self responsibility just excuses, I expected more from Bryan. A responsible parent does not forget their child is in their car. A responsible parent remembers if their child is in the house or not. Perhaps the mother is on anti depressant medication that impaired her memory.

    • bked August 4, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      What size rock would you like to hurl at her first? May you never be the one needing compassion in your darkest hour – though I’m sure the kind -hearted would still give you that compassion. We are all human.

  • KanabCowgirl August 4, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Judge not that ye be not judged!. Those of you who have judged this mother. You will receive the same harshness with which you judged her. Like that old saying goes what goes around comes around. I know exactly where that mother went wrong as I was in her shoes yrs ago. Similar situation.
    Amy you’re a GREAT mother. Keep up the great work. She went before you because her mission here was done NOT because of anything you did.

    • Outraged August 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Actually, the baby died SPECIFICALLY because of what Amy did. She CHOSE to leave that girl in the hot car during the hottest part of the day and run into her house. If that is the definition of a great mother, then Child Protection Services needs to rescue her other children before her great parenting skills claim the lives of them too.

    • This was a negligent homicide August 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Actually, this baby died SPECIFICALLY because of what she did: leaving a baby locked i a hot car on a hot day.
      If this makes her a great mother, she should lose her other kids too, before her great parenting skills kill them too

    • Put the kool aid down August 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      You do not really believe the crap you write, right? Just wow.

      • This was negligent homicide August 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

        Check the other news sources. The aunt has already told the world what the mother told the police and family- she had to go to the bathroom, and decided to leave the baby in the car then come back.
        Except she didn’t come back….
        A decision is not a forgetful moment. It’s a decision.

    • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 10:13 am

      The rest of the scripture…For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

      3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? So by your use use of a scripture- there should be no laws, no police, no jails, no accountability.because we all mistakese so why are people arrested for driving without a license and no registration. By gosh, they had to get to work. But a death of a child occorued here, people calling it a mistake, and no arrest. The comparison seems so far apart. No license/no registratiin- go to jail. You didnt pay a fine, got a warrant- you go to jail. You leave a child in a hot car and cause the death- you get $15,000 donated to you and no jail….hard to fathom.

      • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

        @ Jude not kanabgirl

        • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

          Also, I know someone who spit out a piece of gum out of her car window, a cop was in the next lane. She was arrested, booked and released. Has to do community service and pay a fine. Hard to compare to a death of a child. Littering get arrested a fine and community service. Cause a death of child- you get $15,000 a bunch of people calling it a mistake and no.arrest. spitting gum out of a car was a mistake that someone can get arrested for. But causing a death of child you say there should no be no consequence because we should not judge. Interesting

  • myenergycare August 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I offer the hope of healing to this family! Christ suffered the pain for this tragedy, those without sin go ahead and cast those stones, you will hear about it someday.

    This could have been your daughter, your sister, your granddaughter, would you say the same things???? Have mercy, show grace, it is for your greatest good if you do.

  • Ed August 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Very nicely written article. It is not our personal sense of duty to heap condemnation on someone, we are not the judge. People who do, do not make the tragedy better. To the person who has never lost her kids ever, because she pays attention 24, 7, I say good luck with that! Karma is a …….

  • Monica August 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    As the mother of 7 children having 1/2 raised to adulthood I can look back over the last 22 years and see many things that I did wrong. It is easy to point fingers and become a part of an enraged crowd of people but reality is that all of us are human. We all make mistakes. As a child I was one of only 2 children and I had the epitome of a helicopter mom she was so on top of it all. However when I was very young I remember being in our truck with my younger sister I could not have been more than 5, it was before care seats etc. My foot hit the gear shifter knocking the truck out of gear and running the truck into a tree in front of my grandmothers house. I don’t know if we climbed in the truck on our own or how it happened but it happened. My sister and I were lucky that could have ended really bad and has for many families. Really it is by the grace of God that most of us survive to adulthood. As my children became adults I have learned all kinds of things that they did from young ages to teenagers and I too am a very on top of it mom. My boys have told me things that there is no way I would have thought they had time to do get away with. In those few minutes where we let our guard down much happens. If I have learned one thing in my life it is this. Never say never, or my kid wouldn’t do that or I just would not do that. Those statements are almost an invitation to some force in life that it will happen in some way at some point in our lives. We are all just human. We all make mistakes, we all have done things that are dumb. What makes us better is the ability to look at ourselves and others and realize that we are not perfect and have compassion. I am sure this young mom will do to herself more than the outside world ever could. The article that is referred to above is a great article that should be read by those that are having a hard time having compassion for this mom. We are naive if we believe we would never do this.

  • Just a thought.. August 4, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I believe that when a child is forgotten in a hot car, it is a mistake, but so is killing someone by driving intoxicated or by texting while driving. I am certain none of those people intended to get behind the wheel of a car and kill someone. I am sure they would also say it was an accident. Yet both instances would be considered a crime because a lack of judgement and a broken law led to a death. If a toddler was left alone at home and died it would be a crime because the child was neglected and endangered. My heart breaks for any parent that loses a child under any circumstance and I believe sympathy and empathy are both called for but that does not mean that the responsible party should not be held accountable. I may have compassion and empathy for a drunk driver that accidentally killed their child that was sitting in the back seat of their car but that does not mean they shouldn’t be charged with a crime.

  • Alice August 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    How about we get the whole story. That has yet to surface. How can anyone show compassion until we know the whole story? I’m sorry, but the poor child did not receive the attention it deserved at that moment. She LOST her life because of it. Yes, whomever is responsible has a terrible burden to bear for the rest of their life, but a child LOST their life! You know, LOST? Gone? Didn’t have a chance?

  • Fred August 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    In case you (as a reporter) haven’t been following the news, Fred Phelps died months ago. So, no one will be joining forces with him here on earth anymore. We must find new venues through which we can ensure maximum suffering is done. STGNews seems like a likely place. You guys make it waaay too easy. When you chase ambulances for a living, be prepared for community backlash. It’s just the kind of breeding ground you create and nurture.

  • rdunski August 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Why does St George News basically only concentrate on the bad things that happen here? It writer about death, drugs, death, blm crap, death and death. We don’t want to concentrate on that crap. Write about something That’s worth reading. All there articles do is give all the Facebookers something to judge and to condemn. How pathetic. No wonder Canada has less crime and less of everything. They don’t write about this kinda crap.

  • Steve Urquhart August 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Perfectly stated, Bryan. God bless this poor family.

    • Sweet Jude August 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      It’s amazing how many people can whittle this stuff away, like it’s a minor error or something. Responsibility was never recognized or owned up to in their fantasy little planets. Even our dear representative, Steve U. believes that kind of stuff. Wow. Amazing and unfathomable. Some of us have lost our consciences already. It makes me wonder how many others are neglecting their children, behind closed doors!

  • Seriously? August 4, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Maybe Bryan can cover some other accidents with his compassionate reporting.
    Maybe the woman that accidently robbed the bank and led police on a high speed car chase?
    Maybe the man that accidently raped a woman after he accidently broke into her home?
    I’d love to see his coverage of the guys that accidently murdered 2 people during a botched drug deal that accidently went bad.
    Or how about that Ivins man that just accidently stabbed his father in the chest during a heated arguement. Yeah, let’s hear your spin on that, Bryan.

  • Deb August 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Many of the comments remind me of sharks, circling blood in the water. Sad.

  • Maude Jenkins August 4, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Leaving a child in a hot car ANY TIME, ANY PLACE, is NOT an accident. Forgetting your child in a HOT CAR is NOT an accident. It is NEGLIGENT. How would any adult like to be left in a car for even a matter of minutes with the windows barely cracked in the hot blistering summer sun of St George? You’d never ‘accidentally’ leave your pet or your child in a car again. I never ever EVER left my child in the car for ANY time…I still do not understand why people DO IT!! How hard is it to take the baby carrier out of the back to go into the bathroom with you?? I am not naive thinking I’d never do it cause I NEVER DID IT. It is not even a MISTAKE that she did it, it is NEGLIGENCE first and foremost.

    • Sparky August 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      You don’t understand because obviously you are perfect Maude. We can only aspire to your level of perfection.

    • Concerned August 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      It’s wonderful to hear the Maude Jenkins is perfect and has everything figured out.

    • Mandy August 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      I think you are misunderstanding the situation here. She did not choose to leave her baby. She had completely believed she was not with her. It was not a matter of I will hurry and run in my house because I have to use the bathroom and then oops, I forgot my baby in the car. She believed the baby was in bed taking a nap. She did not think she was anywhere near the car. I think people need to realize that just because they cant fathom doing something themselves….does not mean that it cant happen to them. You do not choose what your mind will and won’t remember. You are human. All of our brains lapse. This circumstance is incredibly tragic, but could happen to anyone.

      • This was negligent homicide August 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

        I can agree with part of your statement- yes, it could happen to anyone… that decided to leave a baby in a car on a hot day so she could run in to the bathroom.
        People keep saying it was an accident and she should be left alone, but would the same people defend her if they have left a loaded gun out and the baby accidently shot herself?
        Of course not!
        Leaving a gun out around kids is negligence; leaving a kid in a car on a hot day is criminal negligence, and this time it has resulted in a death.
        I think more people would calm down if they knew she was actually getting charged with a crime and not getting off on the ‘it was an accident’ clause.

      • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 7:06 pm

        Your defense is she was delusional?

      • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        Mandy you must have read my comment using my word fathom. I did not say leaving a baby in a hot car is hard to fathom. What’s hard to fathom is being awarded money for it. Not being arrested for it. When a person can be arrested for littering but a person a person leaves a baby in a hot car and causes a death and they don’t get arrested and they $15,000. That is hard to fathom.

  • Bender August 4, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Whoa, a rational Hyde column! I agree Bryan. Heart breaking.

    • Saddened August 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Not rational. Emotional. Few facts here, mostly opinion presented as fact. It has been reported already that the mother left her kid in the car to go inside to the bathroom, and just never came back. So it was a concious decision to leave the baby locked in the car, not an accidental death. Lock anyone in a car on a hot day and the ssme thing will happen.

  • sJs August 4, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Why is anybody “gathering stones” and waiting to throw them at someone? Are we so insecure with our own lives and our own short comings that we have to get involved in someone else’s mistakes. What I don’t understand is why is this horrible tragedy is making people take it upon themselves to be the judge, juror and executor? When I heard of this horrific accident I was physically sick. My heart ached for April. My son shares her daughters birthdays, they would both be one this week. But instead of it making me want to shout my outrage that an innocent child was lost, it made me turn inward and want nothing more than to go get my son and hug and kiss him and be grateful that it wasn’t me. We are all human, we are not perfect, our minds play tricks on us. I grew up with April, I am her neighbor and I know without a shadow of a doubt that she did not decide to leave her daughter in the car for convenience sake. She HAD to park down the street, there was no way to get to her house. She doesn’t normally have her daughter with her, she didn’t run inside to go to the bathroom and leave her there on purpose, she forgot she was with her, because on a normal day she wouldn’t have been. In her mind she was laying down for a nap. There is a HUGE difference in purposely leaving a child in the car thinking they will be ok for a few minutes and then never going back out, and just plane forgetting they’re with you. The scary thing to me is that I know this could happen to any of us. I would hope that this situation would make you turn to your family and love them and be grateful you have them. Spend your time more wisely with your children instead of kicking a poor mother when she’s already down, do you not have something better to do with your time?

  • bw August 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    i think if it was a poorer person or a non religous person charges would have been filed

    • This was negligent homicide August 5, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Agreed. Her huge outpouring of support are primarily her good churchy friends and family that decided an excuse was good enough to not pass judgement. Never mind that in Utah it is a misdemeanor crime to leave your child in the car unattended.
      I hope these same bleeding hearts have the same compassion for the buzzed driver that thought he was sober enough to drive but ends up killing someone on the way home, or the guy that drives tired and falls asleep on the highway, killing a family while driving home.
      You know, because a momentary lapse in judgement is okay as long as you say “I forgot” afterwards.

  • JOSH DALTON August 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Here is an idea….Place your child in the car seat,then put your phone in their lap. You won’t grab your stupid cell phone without grabbing your kid!

  • K August 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    This story is tragic, but I find the ridicule coming from it even more tragic. I didn’t realize until this story came out how unsympathetic people are. For people to think that this mother should be punished by law for this is outrageous!!! The reality of your baby dying by your own mistake is punishment enough. What is sad to me is how many of these people claim to be deciples of Christ. Have we not lost our way? How can we be exemplars of Christ and show no mercy? It saddens my heart, and it saddens me the example these people are showing to those around them. Those that may not be Christian. My husband for one will look at you people and say to himself “This is the reason I don’t believe in religion”. I wish that everyone could take a real hard honest look at themselves and realize the nature of which their hostility is coming from. I know this, it is not coming from our almighty God!

  • Maggie August 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    “There but for the grace of God go I.” I raised 4 boys, they were active. They were never careful and their safety was my responsibility. They got hurt and they hurt . Broken bones, cuts and bruises and burns scattered about the four of them. You should hold their hands at all times and you can’t. Standing in the emergency room with each of them at different times I felt both guilt and thankfulness that the injuries were not fatal for any of them at any time and guilty because I was not there or able to stop them from hurting themselves. Yet I was one of the lucky Mom’s, for it could have been one of mine that ran in front of a car, a fall that crippled or killed .etc. Just be thankful for every life filled day with your loved ones and pray that you are always there to protect them . Pray for this family, they do not need your harsh words . Imagine having to wake to this realization every morning for the rest of your life.

    • Jaybird August 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Maggie, “there but for the grace of God go I” is a phrase used about homelessness, not mistakenly killing your baby.

  • HurricaneEmt August 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I have my compassion for the 11 month old the pain and suffering she went through sitting in the hot car, unable to undstand what was happening. And wondering where her mother was and why she wasn’t coming back to get her. If we are to have compassion for the mother it should also be given to the paramedics and police who responded and valiantly tried to save this child. I am sure they were thinking of their own children at the time and gave them a little more love when they were able to see them at the end of their day.

    • Jaybird August 6, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Too true. My heart goes out to the first responders to what they found. That being said, I think the police needed to charge this woman, no matter how devastated she was. A baby died.

  • bob August 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    there’s times when a person goes to the toilet, get out the iphone and start checking facebook alerts or playing a game or what have you, and as soon as you realize it, you’ve been there on the toilet for a full hour, then it hits you that you may have just forgot the baby, leaving it in the car…

  • Shawna August 4, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    I am a mother of ten. I would never intentionally leave my child in a car alone. But, once I had only my infant daughter with me on a trip to Wal-mart. It was a twenty minute drive to the store. I had put her in the seat behind mine, so I didn’t see her, and she had fallen asleep, so I didn’t hear her. I had a lot on my mind and rushed into Wal-mart without her. I did remember about ten minutes into my shopping and rushed back to my car to find her still asleep. I was ashamed of myself for forgetting her. But, I am grateful I didn’t have to suffer, as I am sure the parents that were less fortunate than I suffer for their mistake. I think it would be wonderful if car manufacturers would come up with some sort of an alarm system that would go off if someone was left in a car to alert parents and others.

    • Beep Beep August 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      I don’t know about an alarm system for your car, but maybe an alarm system for your uterus is in order. Holy mackerel. Ten kids? No wonder you forgot one in the car. You probably got distracted by the rest of the pack. What do you drive, a tour bus?

      • purple Me August 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

        That is one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever read on this site.

        • This was negligent homicide August 5, 2014 at 10:46 am

          I thought that was hilarious!

    • purple Me August 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

      There are safety devices that will sound an alert if there is weight in a car seat after the ignition is turned off, but laws requiring them to be installed have a hard time getting past the manufacturer’s lobbying. They don’t want to be liable if the device fails. I for one would install one in a heartbeat and sign a waiver dismissing liability.

  • anonymous August 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    The mom usually had the baby at the sitters, during nap time….construction had blocked her out of her own driveway. In her mind, the baby was at the sitters….as usual. Breaks in routine cause memory issues…BIG TIME.

  • Michelle August 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I have a hard time seeing the point of this article, I am not one to judge people because I am a very fallible person, but, this makes it sound like a small thing like “Oh I forgot to wash my hands when I left the restroom” I am sorry but there is NO excuse for forgetting a child in a car. The press does so much to give parents ideas as to wht can be done so that a tragedy as this does not happen. The responsible parent should be held responsible just as a parent who shakes there baby and causes death. There is no difference

  • Sonja August 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

    This is not a small thing, Michelle! These parents (even if they are never charged for negligence) will be paying for this mistake for the rest of their lives! They will feel the anguish and pain of this child’s death every day that they live on this earth! Just because you have a large number of children doesn’t mean that you don’t love each one of them just as much as an only child. My mother had 11 children (9 survived) and she loved each one as if it were her 1st!

  • DAVE August 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Once again, the St. George Spectrum publishes an article, without providing any specifics on the subject. To top this off, this article was a follow-up of a previous article, that also provided no specifics. There is more to the story, as to “why / how” the infant was left unattended, that morning :

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865608014/Aunt-of-baby-who-died-in-hot-car-says-tragic-accident-is-eating-away-at-infants-family.html

  • ohdee August 5, 2014 at 7:00 am

    they said she thought the kid was sleeping in her room? It’s strange you can be an A+ mom without knowing where your infant baby even is. My heart goes out to the family like they say … happens and it makes me feel terrible no one should have to live with that on their shoulders, but I agree if it would have been a drunk driver that killed the kid you could bet your bottom dollar he’d get locked up immediately. You can’t be immune to the law just because you’re a “good person” or “oops it was an accident, won’t happen again” and be on your way.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • SAGEMOON August 5, 2014 at 9:14 am

    I think Josh Dalton has a good idea. I think people need to think ahead. How many of you women keep a spare car key in your purse? I do. I have a spare key with me in case I lock myself out. One time I used the spare key to leave my dogs in the locked car with the air conditioning running and the parking brake on while I ran into a store. It was a one time thing, but I sure was glad I had a spare key with me for that brief moment I was away from my vehicle and dogs. It was only one time because now I think before I drive whether or not it will be a good idea to take the dogs with me. If you really have to go, how hard is it to unbuckle the car seat and carry it into the house with you? Maybe I just don’t understand the difficulties and inconveniences of being a parent to an infant. I would rather clean myself up after a bowel or bladder accident than be separated from my child or dogs.

  • Karma August 5, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I’ve never heard so much self righteous judging, based on rumor, in my life. Karma will get you all…..better not text, talk, drink or blink while driving with your kids in the car.

    Judge not least you be judged……..

    • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      That’s right better not do those things because if a death of a child occors.while doing those things there would be an arrest. Why is this so different to you..

  • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 10:44 am

    The definetly should an alarm in a car that says something like…there is a passenger in the car, your you left a baby in the car or something. There are reminder buzzers uzzer for keys, for lights, for seatbelts. But to all you using scriptures to not be held accountable for actions. I don’t see people judging her or throwing stones no one said she’s going to hell. Accountability for actions is what I see. It doesn’t really matter the how it happened, why it happened. It happened and so many of you don’t want accountability for it but the bookings page is full of people arrested for.mistakes but you don’t use scriptures for them. Biased?

  • Sunny August 5, 2014 at 11:46 am

    In such a hurry to judge, there are those who use the wrong name, to heap condimnation on this mother… I pray April will receive some measure of peace in the years to come…we would better use our time to suggest things we could do so that we will not find ourselves in this same heart-breaking, terrible situation…

  • R25810 August 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

    No one can cause more pain to this Mom than she already is in. She will suffer for the rest of her life for this “fatal distraction”. My heart goes out to her and her family. This happened to our family a few years back. It was a hectic, wild day with Mom and Dad’s schedules all mixed up after returning from vacation. Our son-in-law pays everyday for forgetting his baby in his vehicle. He loved his son with all of his heart. He wasn’t a loser, doper or drunk. He was a dad whose life revolved around his family. You can say how this could never happen to you and i pray it doesn’t, but believe me it COULD!

  • Judy Cubel August 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Who leaves their baby in the car? Never, under no circumstances, leave a baby in the car. Any fool that reads the news or has an ounce of logic knows this. Take the baby with you, it’s not impossible to do what you need to do with the baby with you.

  • Lillith70 August 5, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Judge not? Judge then not the judgers?

    She was distracted? It usually isn’t the mother but then, things do happen. If you print it in the newspaper, a tragedy like this then people are bound to get caught up in it. We are social and herd animals and moderate our ideas according to whom we are around.

    Would dispassionate response at a baby cooked from inside out be more appropriate? The law can not be compassionate first like the southwest corner of the state would sometimes like it. kind of like the pass white collar crime gets?

    Just saying…Judge not also the judgers.

  • Charles Lamato August 5, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Charge April with killing her daughter and shut down her illicit fund raising!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charge-April-Suwyn-for-Murdering-her-baby-daughter/520990781367036

    • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      She needs to fry in the electric chair! She should be sentenced to death by hot car! Its MURDER any way you look at it. Justice needs to be served. Something needs to be done to rule out intent. Who cares what she says let a jury decide!

  • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I never read the article. I just learned that this woman is not being charged…..I think that the system has failed us one again! She must be related to the drunk driving cops.

    • Mark Vinclio August 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      where did you read she was not being charged. they are investigating it the other article says.. settle down freak.

  • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Peoples comments of it could happen to you makes me question if she was the one who thought it could never happen to her. Any way you slice the banana its negligence!!! Negligence that caused a death.

  • ladybugavenger August 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    A banana is still a banana no matter how you slice it. This is negligence that caused a death no matter how much you rationalize, defend, or ignore.

  • Rick Bowler August 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    You didn’t learn anything all the articles say it will be reviewed by the attorney’s so its not up to the cops or drunk cops…you crack head the system failed along time ago but not on this case yet.

  • Sandy August 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    When I was a young mother, many years ago with my first child who was about 2 years old, I was shopping in a Sears store in Calif. I had a hold of her hand, and suddenly lost my grip. By the time I looked down for her, she had run off among the racks of clothes. I became frantic because I couldn’t find her. I ran all over the immediate area and couldn’t believe she could disappear so fast. I looked towards the glass doors that opened out to the parking lot, and there she was – outside! She could not have opened those doors by herself. Someone had opened them and let her out!! This all happened in about 3 minutes. I still think of that incident that happened over 45 years ago, and blame myself for letting go of her hand. Whoever opened the door and let her out was just not thinking right. Accidents do happen to the “best” of mothers. My heart goes out to this young mother. We really can’t judge her, for a mistake she will have to live with the rest of her life. If my daughter had stepped off the curb and was hit and killed by a car, I would still be living with that mistake – 45 years later. And, perhaps the person who opened the door for her too! Please be kind with your words, people. We are all imperfect.

  • bob August 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

    you people should be ashamed of yourselves

  • Jaybird August 6, 2014 at 11:28 am

    You leave a dog in the car and it dies, you get charged with criminal negligence, cruelty to animals. You leave a child in the car and he/she dies, mistake or not, you get charged with criminal negligence, child endangerment, 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, etc. People are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Take it or leave it, that’s up to the courts and the police should have charged this woman.

  • have2hunt August 8, 2014 at 12:12 am

    There are obviously two major sides here. Each side boils down to either punishment or mercy. I choose mercy because I have no reason to believe that a punishment is needed. It wouldnt do any good for the mother. You … only want to make yourselves feel better. Thats what you are really doing. Of course I love babies and it killed me when I heard the news, but all of you who want to punish the poor Mother to death should be ashamed for being so fierce and heartless. You are all the types of wolves that can justify more pain just to make yourselves feel better. How sick. I never knew there were so many wolves with flaring fangs in this community. You wolves justify your stabs at her with you highest grandeur for the sake of the poor baby who died. How sickening when you have no right. You arent perfect. You should all go look in the mirror and figure out why you think you are so perfect to judge another person so harshly. Yes accidents are forgivable and yes of course it is possible. Quit pretending like you’ve never heard of forgiveness before and that it doesn’t work. People forgive others all the time. It is not fantasy, and it IS thinkable. All you have to do is think it through and it makes sense. If you still don’t understand this whole side of Love and forgiveness, then that is your choice. Go ahead and live in hate and malice and revenge if you want. That is what you will get in return in this life and in your next life. But just be sure and remember this every single time you make a mistake because jone of you are perfect. And when it hits you, maybe then you will finally understand. At least stop with the ignorant remarks. This mother already has to live with the consequences of her actions and all the pain. That is enough. Just leave her alone.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Jacer August 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    No judicial system on this earth or in this universe could issue a more severe punishment than this mother gave herself that day. Leave her alone!

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