April 5, 2007
We are learning new details about exactly what happened to a baby found dead in a University of Virginia parking lot on Friday.
It seems it was all a terrible tragedy. The baby was forgotten in the back seat of a car. And even though University of Virginia police remain tightlipped about their investigation we have learned the circumstances that led to infant’s death.
As she normally does, the mother of nine month old Bryce Balfour drove to work at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School on Friday morning. At around 8:30 a.m. she parked her car and went inside. But the day was all but normal. According to police sources and sources at the JAG school, the mother was supposed to have dropped her baby boy at the sitter. Apparently it slipped her mind and it wasn't until 4:00 p.m. that a retrieved cell phone message from the sitter jogged her memory.
The baby had been in the car for nearly 8 hours.
“Studies show the average temperature inside a car can increase 19 degrees every ten minutes,” said Becky Ball spokesperson for the Virginia arm of the national organization Kids in Cars.
At 66 degrees Friday experts said temperatures inside the car could have climbed to over 115 degrees. Doctors said in that heat it wouldn't take long for heat stroke to occur and the infant to stop breathing.
“Knowing that children and infants can't regulate their body temperature as well as adults they are at an increased risk of heat stroke,” said local family physician Dr. Chris Lupold.
The medical examiner confirms the baby died of hyperthermia. Co-workers told us the mother was hysterical when she realized what she had done and that she ran out to the car and found the baby not breathing. She called 911.
Even though the medical examiner has ruled the baby's death an accident there's a chance the mother could face child neglect charges but no charges have been filed as of yet.
There are 11 states with laws that make it illegal to leave a child unattended in a car. Virginia is not one of them.
According to the organization kids in cars over 130 children left in or around vehicles died last year in the United States, two of those in Virginia.