Local prosecutors will not charge the father of a 9-month-old who died from the heat after being left in a car, unattended, on Father’s Day.
Jayden Davis was closed in a car at Charbonneau Apartments for three to four hours, Columbia Police said. The average temperature that day, June 19, was 92.
Wednesday, the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office concluded “that despite the terrible end to Jayden’s life, insufficient evidence was found to charge the father or any others with a ‘criminal’ act.” City police and the solicitor’s office issued a joint news release on the decision.
Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson said investigators interviewed both of the boy’s parents, as well as his baby sitter.
The name of the baby’s father was not released.
“This tragic incident has taken an emotional toll on the family, Columbia Police investigators and the community,” Chief Randy Scott said in a statement.
Jayden’s death is likely to inspire S.C. lawmakers to debate a new criminal law on leaving unattended children in cars. Such a proposal — making it a misdemeanor to leave a child younger than 15 in a car — went nowhere this past legislative session but, after Jayden’s death, the primary sponsor said he would consider reducing the applicable age to 7 or younger.
Nationally, an average of 38 children die each year after being left unattended in cars, according to KidsAndCars.org, a Kansas-based group that tracks such incidents. Most are 3 and younger.