A Texas father has defended his strange actions after discovering he left his 6-month-old daughter Fern in a hot car for hours. Instead of immediately calling 911, the father rushed the child inside their family home and placed her inside of the refrigerator for an “undetermined amount of time.” The father then removed the child and began giving her CPR as he waited for authorities to arrive. Sadly, baby Fern passed away from her heat-related injuries.
The Daily Mail reports that 33-year-old Michael Thedford has been charged with manslaughter in the death of his infant daughter Fern. The father and currently unemployed teacher reportedly left the 6-month-old baby strapped into her car seat in his vehicle for several hours as temperatures reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Thedford has been released on $20,000 bond and has defended his strange actions after finding his baby daughter “hot as a brick” after being left in the hot car for hours.
The father says that he is “heartbroken” following the death of his baby daughter Fern and says that he accidentally left the child in the hot vehicle due to a change in his routine. Reports indicate that the father had dropped his two older children, aged 3 and 5, off at daycare at around 9:00 a.m. The father then returned home and took a nap. However, Thedford forgot about his daughter Fern who was still in the vehicle.
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Father defends himself after leaving baby in hot car and then putting her in fridge
— Lee Levy (@thekingleelevy) June 26, 2016
After his nap, Thedford returned to his vehicle to find Fern “hot as a brick” still strapped into her seat. The father removed the child and brought her inside where he quickly placed her in the refrigerator. Police have questioned why the father would place the child in the fridge without calling for emergency assistance but say they do not know how long the child was actually in the refrigerator before Thedford called for help.
After removing the child from the refrigerator, Thedford called 911 and performed CPR on the infant until emergency responders arrived. Sadly, baby Fern would pass away from her injuries. CBS Dallas reports that authorities were called to the scene at 1:30 p.m., approximately four-and-a-half hours after the older children were dropped off at daycare.
— Allison Harris (@allisonfox4news) June 22, 2016
Neighbors in the area say they watched in horror as emergency responders performed CPR on the child and police questioned the father and mother outside. One neighbor noted that the mother returned home and appeared to be crying and in a state of shock. She noted that the father also appeared devastated.
“They were asking the mother a few questions and she looked like she was crying. She was devastated. So was he, he would hug her and cry as well.”
Another neighbor says that police had Thedford reenact what had happened with the child using what appeared to be a Mickey Mouse doll. The police then questioned the mother and father.
“They used a Mickey Mouse type of doll for him to show what happened and now that I think about it, they also were measuring from the van to the door now that I remember. They were asking the mother a few questions and she looked like she was crying,”
A few days later, Thedford was arrested on charges of manslaughter but was released on bond. Now the family’s attorney is speaking out for the couple, noting that Michael and his wife were heartbroken over the loss of the daughter and that their hearts will never heal.
“We are heartbroken over the loss of our beautiful baby girl. We love our children. We love Fern, and our hearts will never heal.”
[Image via Collin County Sheriff’s Department/mugshot]