Police: Boy, 2, was dead in van for hours

A 2-year-old boy strapped inside a child seat in a minivan outside his Macomb County home for hours Tuesday died of hyperthermia or heat stroke and was dead for several hours before he was found, Shelby Township Police Chief Roland Woelkers said.
Tribune News Service
Sep 5, 2013

 

Woelkers said a half-dozen detectives are working the case involving the death of James Nelson after authorities questioned and released the boy’s mother, her female roommate, grandparents and others.

No one is in custody or been charged in the toddler’s death, but Woelkers said everyone is being cooperative.

The boy’s exact time of death has not been determined, Woelkers said after an autopsy by the Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office. But he said James’ body temperature at the hospital was 108 degrees.

Woelkers said police are trying to determine who had care of James on Tuesday while his mother was at work from early morning. He said the mother, who put the boy in the unlocked 2007 blue Dodge Caravan with the windows rolled up, was the last to see him alive. The boy was found dead at about 6 p.m., Woelkers said.

The minivan was in the sun in the driveway. James was in the right rear passenger area in a child seat. Woelkers said the unnamed roommate and friends pulled him out after the roommate saw him and went elsewhere to have 911 called.

Woelkers said the mother, Audrionna Rhoades, 21, doesn’t have an exact daily routine for her only child — sometimes the boy is taken to his grandparents, other times he is home with the roommate — while she is at her job in Oakland County. The boy’s father is out of state and not involved, Woelkers said.

The boy’s grandfather said he found the toddler dead inside the parked van after his daughter’s roommate came to his home for help.

“She’s pounding on the door. I go down there and he’s dead,” Johnny Rhoades, 53, said, breaking down into sobs. “He’s in the van, strapped in his frickin’ car seat, sopping wet, blue. My girlfriend tried CPR, but he was dead. The poor baby.”

Rhoades said his daughter’s roommate was supposed to be watching his grandson while his daughter was at work.

James was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Troy, where he was pronounced dead, according to a release issued by the Shelby Township Police Department.

The temperature at about the time the boy was found in the car Tuesday was 72 degrees in Pontiac, with the high for the day at 73 degrees about an hour earlier, said Dan Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

Woelkers said a vehicle’s temperature can get to 130 degrees in just 15 minutes.

He said 36 children have died this year being left in vehicles. Since 1998, he said, a child dies in a locked vehicle every nine days. Nationally, more than 650 have died in such a fashion, he said.

Woelkers said he was unaware of any custody, neglect or abuse investigations involving the boy. He said police had been to the home before, but he did not know when or if the matter involved the same family or someone who may have lived there before.

Johnny Rhoades said his daughter was questioned by police until early Wednesday, then released. He said she is staying with her mother in Auburn Hills.

— By Christina Hall and Tammy Stables Battaglia, Detroit Free Press (MCT)

Comments

castthefirststone

this child is so lucky, to be rid of the sex team that bore it. . . the community is so lucky to be rid of the birth scum that took the little child for a ride that day. . . .and the brain dead room mate and the brain dead (so called) mother should be locked in the same van under the same conditions and the same amount of time then removed taken to trial and beaten to death with baseball bats wielded by the rest of the community, and then rendered like beef. i know, i'm going soft. . . .

Wingmaster

"Woelkers said police are trying to determine who had care of James on Tuesday while his mother was at work from early morning. He said the mother, who put the boy in the unlocked 2007 blue Dodge Caravan with the windows rolled up, was the last to see him alive. The boy was found dead at about 6 p.m., Woelkers said."

End of story, what kind of dirt bag "mother" leaves an infant in a vehicle without placing the child in the care of a person? Charge the mother, investigate the other idiot and level charges if it is determined there is responsibility here.

Should these idiots be allowed to breeding rights?

LessThanAmused

"Should these idiots be allowed to bred"?

It's breed and the answer is a resounding no!
There is way too much indescriminate "hooking up" going on these days. It's tragic in the age of birth control that these unwanted children are born and then subjected to "soft" abuse (ignored, not kept clean, or fed, considered a burden etc...).
Really though, what kind of parenting would you expect from someone who was too lazy to put a rubber on, or use some / any form of birth control?
Taking care of a child is more than a game of "who had it last"?

Wingmaster

Good catch. I changed the line from "these idiots must be in bred"

Fixed now and should be more amusing;-)

LessThanAmused

I realize you're trying to bring a little humor to this grim topic, but really there's nothing funny about this....these people, who were responsible for this small person, should be strung up and treated like a human piñata.
I want first swing. Second swing too now that I think about it.

 

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