Hot Car Death: Phoenix 7-Month-Old Dies After Being Left In 100-Degree Heat For Hours

A 7-month-old baby died after being left in a hot car in Phoenix for at least seven hours on Friday afternoon, as the temperatures outside exceeded 100 degrees, The Arizona Republic is reporting.

On Saturday, KNXV (Phoenix) identified the boy as Zane Endress.

Police were called to a Phoenix address at about 4:00 p.m. Friday after reports of an unresponsive baby in the back of a car was left outside in the sun. Temperatures in Phoenix topped out at about 101 degrees, according to The Weather Underground. As of this writing, it is not clear who noticed the baby in the car, or who called the police. He was already dead when authorities arrived, and he was not taken to a hospital.

Four adults – an older couple and two of their adult daughters – and the baby had lived at the house.

Neighbor Mark Peterson, 56, had cleaned the family’s pool for years, and had even cleaned the family’s pool that very day. As he was working, a few feet away from him was Zane, dying in the heat. Peterson says he even waved to the baby’s grandfather, who waved back to him, even as his grandson was in the car dying. He says he didn’t see or hear anything unusual, and it never occurred to him to look inside the car.

Peterson tells KPHO-TV (Phoenix) that he’s haunted by the fact that he was literally within feet of a dead or dying baby.

“It is [chilling] if I thought I walked by a car that had a dead baby in it yet.”

Neighbor Shuree Ohlemann, who has a 7-month-old son of her own, Tatum, says it’s too been hot for kids to be outside at all, let alone left to die in the back of a hot car.

“It’s devastating. I can’t imagine what the child must have went through. It’s too hot for [Tatum] just walking with me outside right now.”

Authorities believe the baby’s grandparents brought him home and simply forgot about him. As of this writing, no arrests have been made. However, Phoenix police are promising a “full investigation.”

Between 1998 and 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, via Safekidz.org, 651 American kids died of vehicular heatstroke. Fifty-four percent were forgotten about by their parents or caregivers, 29% somehow got into hot vehicles themselves, and 17% were left intentionally.

[Featured Image by slonme/Shutterstock]