The father of the nine-month-old baby who died after being left unattended in a car for hours in sweltering heat is the person who left the baby in the car, Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott said today.
Scott estimated the lengthy of time the baby was in the car with the windows rolled up from Sunday morning until afternoon was easily more than three hours.
"It probably was four hours -- could be more, could be a little less," Scott said.
Meanwhile, an autopsy on the boy, Jayden Davis, of Charbonneau Apartments, revealed that he died from complications of acute hyperthermia, said Richland County coroner Gary Watts.
Hyperthermia means an elevated body temperature and is considered a medical emergency. It requires prompt treatment to prevent sickness or death. Infants are especially susceptible to hyperthermia in hot, closed areas.
The temperature around noon Sunday in the Columbia area was about 92 under mostly sunny conditions, according to the National Wearther Service.
Chief Scott said his department is investigating the death but has as of yet reached no conclusions.
Scott said the father, whose name he did not reveal, had dropped the mother off at work Sunday morning. At the time, the baby was in a car seat in the rear of the car, a 2008 Mercury Milan sedan. The car seat was facing backwards..
When the father returned to the apartments, he got out of the car and went into the apartments, leaving the baby outside in the car, Scott said.
"This is a tragedy this happened on Father’s Day," Scott said.
"I can only imagine what the family is going through now outside of a criminal investigation," Scott said. "But we are talking about the death of a child. I’m not saying charges will be filed, but I’m not ruling that out."
Scott urged any member of the public who sees a young child unattended in a car to call 911 immediately.
"We are living in South Carolina in this type of heat and humidity -- no one or nothing can be left in a vehicle in this heat," Scott said. "Even if it’s in the wintertime, you just never want to leave a child unattended in a vehicle."
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.