Butler County sheriff discusses infant hot-car death near Rose Hill

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) Monday, June 10, 2019

Saturday's case of a 3-month-old girl dying after being left in a hot vehicle is a first for Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet, but not so uncommon of an incident nationwide.

"I cannot remember in my 30 years working here at the Butler County Sheriff's Office where we've had a child that has passed in a car. Very tragic, very tragic," Herzet says.

But nationwide, dozens of children die in hot cars each year. Saturday's incident in Rose Hill is the 11th so far in the U.S. In 2018, 52 children died in hot cars in the U.S., the most in any year on record.

"I can tell you through the investigation that the mother and the 3-month-old child had went to a baby shower that morning," Herzet says.

He says the infant's mother came home around noon Saturday and went inside where there were several other children. He says the woman said she needed take a nap and woke up about 4 p.m. It was then, Herzet says, she realized the 3-month-old was still in the car. He says she ran outside, found the infant unresponsive and called 911.

"These kind of cases really pull at your heart strings because it is a child," Herzet says. "You have to just take that into consideration and never forget that, but on the other hand, as a detective, you have to just work the case, gather all the facts."

Herzet says his department will present the case to the Butler County attorney for potential charges, but that could take two to three months as they wait for toxicology results to come back.

"I just want people to pay attention and realize that they do have their children in the car," he says. "With summer coming on, it's hot in the car. Please pay attention."

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Update 6 p.m. Sunday, June 9

According to Butler County sheriff's deputies, a 3-month-old girl is dead after the baby's mother accidentally left the child in a vehicle.

It happened in a rural part of the county off of SW 160th.

Deputies say the girl's mother was drowsy after arriving back to her home and went inside to take a nap.

After realizing she left the baby behind, deputies say the mother rushed back out to the vehicle and found the child unresponsive and not breathing. Deputies say the mom brought the child inside the home and immediately called 911.

Emergency crews responding to the call could not revive the child and pronounced the 3-month-old deceased shortly before 4:30 p.m.

"This is a tragedy. I can't remember the last time we've had something like this happen in Butler County," said Undersheriff Tony Wilhite. "These are good people and this is a horrible tragedy."

Deputies are still trying to determine how long the baby was left unattended in the vehicle.

Three other children were at the home at the time of the incident.

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According to Butler County dispatchers, a 3-month-old baby was found not breathing in a vehicle.

Right now, emergency crews are on scene in a rural part of the county, east of Meadowlark Road on SW 160th.

More information to follow.