Joshua Blunt: Mississippi Man Charged With Forgetting Infant Daughter In Hot Car Released Without Bail

Joshua Blunt, a Mississippi man whose daughter died in a scorching car because he left her there for four hours, has been released from jail without bail. There is a strong possibility that the second-degree murder charge against him would also be reduced.

As the Washington Post reports, Grenada Municipal Judge Rusty Harlow instructed that the 25-year-old be released from jail after a friend, police detective, and city prosecutor Jennifer Adams all testified that he was not a flight risk. Blunt wept profusely as he was released from the county jail and embraced by family and friends who had offered support during the court hearing.

There were cheers and claps across the courtroom as the judge ordered Blunt’s release. John Archer and his wife, Patricia, who raised Blunt, said it was only fair because he was working two jobs and had never been in trouble with the law.

John Archer said of Blunt, “[H]e was just working hard to support his family. It’s just an accident.”

Archer added that Blunt had been called to work on the day he forgot his daughter in the car. He speculated that Blunt was penciled to be off that day and most likely the change in routine made him forget that he was supposed to drop his daughter at her mother’s place first.

The city prosecutor informed the judge that Grenada officials wanted to cut down the charges against Blunt from second-degree murder, which would have been punishable with a life sentence, to culpable negligence, which is a felony that would only attract a 12-month prison sentence. However, Judge Harlow said he would wait to hear from Grenada County District Attorney Doug Evans before arriving at a decision. The attorney was present during the brief court hearing but made no contributions.

Evans, speaking to reporters outside, said the right procedure would be for city officials to cancel the original murder charge and bring forward a culpable negligence charge. He said it would then be up to the district attorney’s office to present the matter before a grand jury. Evans admitted that he had been privy to information about the case but refused to comment on whether he believed that Blunt had no idea that his 8-month-old daughter was in the car. Carlos Moore, the lawyer for Blunt, said he would push for a lower-grade felony charge.

Blunt’s daughter, Shania Caradine, died when she was left alone inside her dad’s car outside a 333 Restaurant in Grenada. A co-worker had found the girl locked up in the car, took her inside the restaurant, and placed cool towels on her. An ambulance transported the girl to the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada, where doctors tried in vain for hours to revive the toddler. Shania Caradine was the second child in Mississippi to die in a vehicle in a span of two weeks. No charges were lodged against the parent in the previous case.

Janette Fennell, the founder and president of KidsAndCars.Org, says that, on the average, around 38 children die every year in hot car-related deaths. She revealed that in 2015, 25 children died, while in 2014, 32 kids died. Cars.com editor Joe Wisenfelder cautioned that “it’s really never best to leave your kid in the car; a child’s temperature can rise as much as five times faster than an adult’s.” He said it was not enough to leave kids in the car even with the air conditioning running because that could pose a different set of problems like a child being injured by a power window or entangled by a seat belt.

[Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images]