A foster dad in Kansas left a 10-month-old girl in a parked car for two hours on a 90-degree day while he watched TV and smoked weed with his partner. According to most recent reports, it was not until watching Game of Thrones that Seth Jackson was reminded of the young child he left behind. Unfortunately, by that time, she had died, marking yet another child to pass away this summer after being left in a hot car.
According to 29-year-old Jackson, after picking up his adopted 5-year-old son and briefly stopping to buy some marijuana, the Kansas foster dad entered his home forgetting one important thing in the back seat: his 10-month-old foster daughter. Oblivious to the child in his car, Jackson proceeded to eat pizza and smoke marijuana with his partner until an image of a crying baby on Game of Thrones reminded him of the child he had neglected, NBC News reported.
The young girl, known as Anna to Jackson, but called Kadillak by her biological family, was hot, stiff, and unresponsive by the time Jackson and his partner pulled her out from the car seat. An autopsy showed she had died of hyperthermia due to heat exposure, The Associated Press reported. "I left her in the car. She's dead, she's dead," Jackson was heard telling the 911 operator in one of his four phone calls.
Jackson’s partner told police that he and Jackson had been foster parents to the baby girl since he was just two weeks old and were in the midst of trying to formally adopt her. The two also have three other foster children aged 3, 5, and 18, and two adopted children, aged 5 and 7. Jackson was charged with first-degree murder, a charge that Kansas state law reserves for those who kill another intentionally or "in the commission of ... any inherently dangerous felony," which in Jackson’s case could be child endangerment, NBC News reported. The partner is not being charged with any crime.
Information released by the San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences reported that to date 21 children have died of heatstroke after being left in cars. Of these, over half (51 percent) were cases of the child being “forgotten” by the caregiver, such as in the most recent example. The university also found wide disparities in laws protecting unattended children in hot cars. To date, 30 states have no such rules protecting children. Although many may point to drugs or alcohol being the main cause for parents forgetting their child in a parked car, in actuality it was found that this was true only seven percent of the time.
There are some signs of improvement toward the protection of children in parked cars. For example, early last month Tennessee passed a law that made it legal to forcibly smash the window of a parked car if you have "a good faith belief" that will help prevent a minor from suffering “harm if not immediately removed from the vehicle,” Today reported.