Baby dies in hot car on Navy base; father accused of manslaughter
A man whose baby died Wednesday after being locked in his hot car at a Navy base in Maryland has been accused of involuntary manslaughter.
John MacDonald Junek, 40, told law enforcement officials that he took his 4-year-old son to preschool and then forgot to drop off his infant son at daycare before going to his office at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, according to court documents filed with a criminal complaint.
Ricardo Solis, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, said in an affidavit that Junek told officials he’d parked near his office just before 9 a.m. and left the baby in a rear-facing car seat. Junek said his wife called him around 3:20 p.m. to ask a question about the car seat, and Junek realized he might not have taken their baby to daycare and went to check, Solis said.
Junek said he discovered the child unconscious in the car seat and couldn’t revive him. He called 911 around 3:25 p.m., and the baby was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Solis’ affidavit.
The outside temperature reached 85 degrees in the area that day, Solis said.
Junek told officials he used his car twice in the middle of the day: once to drive to a 1 p.m. meeting in a different building and once around 2 p.m. to return from the meeting, Solis said. The father said he was in a hurry to get to the meeting and didn’t notice his child was still in the car.
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, Junek faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, an NCIS spokesman said.
Dozens of children in the U.S. die each year after being stuck in hot cars. There have been more than 25 such heatstroke deaths this year, according to KidsAndCars.org, which tracks such deaths.
Separately on Thursday, a Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his toddler in a hot car in June and sexting with multiple women as the boy died was indicted on eight charges, including murder and child cruelty.
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