Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune discusses details about the 1-year-old boy who died in a car on July 29.
Lily Altavena/The Republic
Phoenix police and fire officials were called out at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to a Church of God in Christ after witnesses called 911.
Fire officials arrived and pronounced 1-year-old Josiah Riggins dead.
Police: Father forgot baby was in the car
Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said Josiah was in the care of his father at the time of his death.
“Our initial investigation is saying that the father forgot the baby was in the car,” Fortune said. “The child was unresponsive and had been left in the vehicle for several hours.”
Fortune said investigators were still interviewing the parents to determine exactly what happened. The baby had not been in the church parking lot for hours; Fortune said the car had been elsewhere before the father drove to the church.
She said she didn’t know where the car had been or why it had ended up at the church.
“Everyone is cooperative,” Fortune said. “It’s the death of a child. It’s a tragedy.”
No arrests had been made as of Saturday night, Fortune said.
Family members began gathering at the church to support the parents shortly after it happened.
“It’s shocking, devastating, just sad,” said Zettica Mitchell, who said she was a cousin of the baby’s father. “You feel like it’s something that could happen to anybody.”
She said she had come to the church to support the family, and mentioned hearing about the other baby that had died similarly Friday.
Second death in two days
This death came just 24 hours after 7-month-old Zane Endress died after being left in a car in northeast Phoenix for about four hours, according to Phoenix police.
The boy was in the care of his grandparents at the time, police reported.
These two are the first cases of a child dying in a hot car in Maricopa County this year. There was at least one death last year.
Fortune reminded parents to take time to check their backseats for their children.
“We hear that parents are saying they forgot their babies in their vehicles,” she said. “Take some time, again, to look inside your vehicle … to just avoid these tragedies.”
In October, 5-month-old Israel Sebastian Avila died after being left unattended in a car for about four hours.
The baby’s aunt and her boyfriend had been babysitting the child, according to Peoria police officials. They dropped the baby’s mother off at work and then returned home, reporting that they forgot the baby was in the car until they got back in the car to pick the mother up from work.
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