Sheriff: Father will not face charges in infant death at this time
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 5:32pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 20, 2012 - 10:06am
LAFAYETTE, LA (NBC33) — The death of an 11-month-old has a community shocked, and wondering why no charges have been filed. We spoke with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, and they explained the situation.
“Every criminal statute has certain elements, and we do not feel those statues have been reached in this case,” Cpt. Kip Judice, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, explained. “This agency takes child care very seriously. If we felt he did anything egregious, he would be in jail.”
On Monday, June 25 the father, officials say, was asked by his wife to take the infant to day care. This was a task he was not typically asked to do. This day was out of the ordinary.
We’re told that at some point in time, the father went to his place of employment and left the infant in the car. The exact details regarding his actions from when he left his home to when he found his child were not released. However, investigators have confirmed the exterior temperature reached 99 degrees and inside the closed vehicle that would have been considerably higher. Reports say the infant could have been in the vehicle for as long as six hours.
“As it stands now, our investigators have not found that there’s any clear criminal connection,” Cpt. Judice said. “This is the most tragic of incidents. This is a situation that’s based on the pressures of today’s times. We’re all so distracted.”
When the father realized what happened, he took the child to Women’s and Children’s Hospital. However, the baby was declared dead minutes after arriving.
Although no charges have been filed yet, officials say that the investigation is still ongoing.
“Certainly no evidence of anything else exists, but an official cause of death has to be determined first,” Cpt. Judice explained. “The autopsy could come back showing a different situation. The child could have a cracked skull and this could be a cover-up. There could be broken ribs. We just don’t know for sure, yet. We can’t make any assumptions.”
However, the likely continuation of the case will come from the District Attorney’s Office.
“In most death cases, of course not all of them, the District Attorney will take the case to a Grand Jury,” Cpt. Judice noted. “At a minimum they will let a Grand Jury review the case, and if they feel there’s criminal negligence, he will be charged.”
Because no charges have been filed at this time, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has not released the name of the father.
“Is he morally responsible? I can tell you that he’s beating himself up pretty bad and that he’s going to see that baby’s face every time he goes to his truck,” Cpt. Judice said. “That’s worse than any prison we can put him in.”