Carolyn Davis, a West Virginia great-grandmother, has been charged in the death of her 19-month-old great-grandson, Abel Stevens, after police said she left him in a hot car for seven hours.
Davis, 65, of Point Pleasant, was arraigned on Thursday at a court in Mason County on a child neglect causing injury charge. According to People, Davis has not yet entered a plea, and it isn’t clear if she has retained an attorney. In addition, her bond was set at $500,000, and she must remain on home confinement.
According to WSAZ News Channel 3, the incident that led to the hot car death of Abel took place on April 5. Davis had reportedly drove her granddaughter, the child’s mother, to work with Abel and his 4-year-old sibling in the backseat. After dropping off her granddaughter, Davis drove back to her home on Lighthouse Lane and exited the vehicle with the 4-year-old, leaving the toddler in his car seat. According to the police, Abel was left in the vehicle for seven hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On that day, the temperatures reached 81 degrees, but because the car was left in an area with no shade, it is believed the temperatures inside the car could have reached upwards of 120 to 140 degrees.
Later that day, Davis and the 4-year-old entered the car once again and drove to pick up her granddaughter. The police believe Davis knew the toddler was dead, but didn’t want to be the one to report it to the authorities.
— WSAZ NewsChannel 3 (@WSAZnews) May 10, 2017
“We think that she knew the child had passed away and just drove on into town waiting for someone else to discover it” Corporal A.B. Ward of the West Virginia State Police said. “I don’t know how you would not know a little baby’s there when you put another one right beside him and he is purple and stiff.”
When Abel’s mother got inside of the car, she noticed her son was unresponsive and asked what was wrong with him. According to Ward, the mother said “the boy [was] blue” and “stiff” and she had trouble getting him out of his car seat.
“She finds her son deceased in the back seat,” Ward said. “That’s got to be a horrible death. I’m sure he woke up screaming and crying, which got him that much hotter.”
Ward added that Davis had been watching her great-grandchildren five days a week while their mother worked, and they don’t think she intentionally left the child in the car, the New York Daily News reports.
— Josh Fitzpatrick (@WSAZJoshFitz) May 11, 2017
“I’m sure it was an accident,” Ward said. “I don’t think anyone would leave a 19-month old kid in a car to suffer. I would hope it was an accident.”
“She was able to live by herself and take care of herself up to this point,” he added. “Nothing would indicate she wasn’t able to take care of the children. She’d taken care of them months prior to this.”
“We really believe with the shape the house was in, that the best place for the baby was probably the car for the great-grandmother to leave him there,” Lt. Shawn Ross with the Point Pleasant Police Department added, “and it had been cool since she’s had the child since January. This happened to be a hot day, and it just got too hot.”
An autopsy was performed on Abel, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston determined that there was “no other explanation” for his death other than heat exposure.
Do you think Carolyn Davis should have been charged with her great-grandson’s death? Leave your comments below.
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