A father in Connecticut is being charged with homicide for accidentally leaving his son in a hot car until he died. The death occurred in July and the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, leaving some to wonder why the father wasn’t charged earlier. Nevertheless, children dying inside hot cars is shockingly common and authorities appear to believe that the death was not intentional, leaving others wondering if the father should have been charged at all.
The Huffington Post reports that on July 7 the father, Kyle Seitz, was supposed to drop off his 15-month-old son at daycare then head to work at a technology firm. Instead, the father forgot to drop off the child, leaving him in the hot car while he worked.
The temperature outside was about 88 degrees Fahrenheit, and experts say that inside the hot car temperatures could have reached well over 100 degrees. The son, Benjamin, stayed in that car for about seven hours until Seitz went to go the daycare, thinking the son spent the day there.
Once the father saw his son was suffering, he rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Later in August, the death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.
On Tuesday the father was formally charged with homicide, about five months after the incident. Seitz is facing charges of negligent homicide, that is to say, the police recognize that the death was not intentional but that the negligence was severe enough to be called criminal. If found guilty, Seitz could go to jail for one year.
So, what about the mother, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz?
According to NBC News, she’s forgiven her husband. The couple have two other children, both daughters, and according to Lindsey the family has been grieving together. She reportedly told her husband she loves him and made sure he looked at her.
As Rogers-Seitz explained, “We’re just like everybody else, and if it can happen to us it can happen to anybody.”
In the meantime, Rogers-Seitz created a website called thegiftofben.com to promote awareness of hot car children deaths and solutions to preventing that kind of tragedy.
The couple also did a sorrowful piece for Time Magazine to tell their story and hopefully prevent further deaths.
It turns out to be not all that uncommon.
Since 1998, there have been 600 kids who have died inside hot cars, 44 in 2013 alone.
Despite being so public about the incident, they’ve always avoided discussing criminal liability — but that’s a subject that they’ll now have to face.
In the meantime, a fifth grader named Andrew Pelham created the E-Z Baby Saver, a device that could have prevent the Seitz family tragedy. To find out more about it, click here.
[Image Credit: TheGiftOfBen.com]