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Police: 4-month-old girl died after she was left in hot van outside school district building

PHOENIX — A 4-month-old girl died Tuesday, Oct. 1 after she was left in a van outside a Phoenix school district building for several hours.

Phoenix firefighters were called to the scene near 39th Avenue and Sweetwater Avenue just before 4 p.m.

When crews arrived on scene at the Washington Elementary School District facility, the child was beyond any resuscitative efforts and pronounced dead, Phoenix Fire Captain Rob McDade said.

Police said the child’s foster or adoptive father is an administrator at the building. The man, 56, told detectives he forgot to drop the infant off after an appointment. When he went to leave work around 3:30 p.m., he found the child in the vehicle.

Police said the man and his wife are parents of adoptive and foster children.

“Sad events,” said Detective Luis Samudio with the Phoenix Police Department. “I understand he’s a very good man. A parent. He’s adopted children.”

Many parents were left wondering how this tragedy could happen yet again.

“There’s no way I would ever forget where my kid is at,” said Craig Huthmacheo.

“I just can’t think of how somebody could forget a baby in the back seat of a car,” said Rebecca Calmick, a mother who lived across the street. “I mean, he’s a foster parent. He had no intention of hurting a kid. He wanted to help kids.”

It wasn’t immediately clear whether charges would be filed, said Samudio.

“If he is not charged, he will have to wear that weight for the rest of his life,” said Huthmacheo.

The Washington Elementary School District issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“Staff at the Washington Elementary School District are heartbroken about the death of an employee’s child at our Service Center. Our hearts go out to our staff member, his family and all of his colleagues who are grieving this tragic loss. We will be providing support to the entire Transportation team tomorrow and in the days to come. While we are all grieving, we will continue to provide service to our students and families.”

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