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Toddler found dead in family car

Canyon Country mom found 2-year-old strapped in child seat

Posted: July 22, 2008 2:26 a.m.
Updated: September 22, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
A young Canyon Country family is ripped apart today after the youngest of their three children was found dead in the family mini-van on Monday.

At about 5:10 p.m., deputies were called to a residence on High Point Place.

The incident began several hours earlier, however, after a routine day of shopping and running errands.

"A mother of this young boy was out running errands, shopping, and when she returned home, two of the three kids got out of the car and went into the house," Lt. Dave Dolson told a cluster of reporters gathered at the cul-de-sac.

"A period of time elapsed and then the mother realized her young son was missing," he said. "The baby was not in the house. She looked for him in the car and found him strapped in the baby seat. Apparently he was there for quite a while," Dolson explained.

Asked if this was being treated as a homicide, he said it was being treated as a sudden death.

The mother was taken in for questioning but she is not in custody.

"She is very distraught," Dolson said. "Both parents are extremely distraught."

Asked by reporters what explanation the mother gave, and specifically if the mother had been distracted, he said: "I think ‘distracted' was part of her statement."

At 9:10 p.m., four hours after police received word that a two-year-old was found dead, uniformed officers emerged from the front of the home.

Then shortly before 9:30 p.m., the woman, believed to be in her early 30s, with blonde hair tied back, was huddled under a salt-and-pepper colored blanket in the front seat of a sheriff's black and white vehicle that drove her from the scene.

Before Dolson told a cluster of reporters what had happened, scores of residents gathered on the grass on the intersection of Kesley Street and High Point Place, some with their heads on their folded arms, as they sat on nearby lawns.

Uniformed officers scrutinized a red Toyota mini-van with flashlights after the woman left the scene.

Residents watching deputies working outside the front of the house and on the driveway, around the mini-van, said temperatures reached 96 degrees on their street today.

A man who identified himself as the landlord of the house in question said he rented the house to a young couple a year ago. He said the couple has three kids: two boys, ages 2 and 3, and a girl, age 5.

He knew the 2-year-old and talked to him regularly, describing the boy as very nice. "I feel terrible," the man said.

"They are very nice people. He works very hard paying $2,000 a month rent and she stays at home and looks after the kids," he said.

The landlord, who lives on the same cul-de-sac, described the young couple as diligent, hard-working and trusting.

"They put the cash for the rent in the mailbox and I told them not to do that," he said.

A neighbor called him at 4 p.m.

"I was told this happened at noon," the landlord said.

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