The father of a 15-month-boy was charged Tuesday with criminally negligent homicide for forgetting his son in the car for hours and causing his death, Connecticut police said, according to reports. Kyle Seitz, 36, turned himself in on Tuesday afternoon after he found out that there was a warrant against him.
His son Benjamin was strapped into a child seat in the back of the car for more than seven hours in July and died as a result of hyperthermia due to environmental exposure, while Seitz believed that he had taken the toddler to day care. Since the death of their son, his wife, Lindsey Rogers-Seitz, is lobbying to implement devices in cars that would alert a parent if there is a child in the back seat.
“Criminally negligent homicide, which is the misdemeanor that he’s being charged with, does not require any intent,” William Dunlap, Quinnipiac University criminal law professor, said, according to CBS News, adding: “It simply requires that he acted with criminal negligence.”
The incident occurred in July when Seitz drove into work and forgot that his son was in the back seat, waiting to be dropped off at day care. After work, Seitz went to the day care center to pick him up and realized that Benjamin was not there. He came back to the car to find his son unresponsive and rushed the boy to a hospital, where he learned that the child had died. On Aug. 21, the state’s medical examiner’s office had called the death a homicide.
“The baby died that day, this should have been done that day,” Teresa, a local resident identified only by her first name, said, according to a local Fox News affiliate, adding: “The baby needed justice. Why it took so long? It’s bureaucracy–lawyers or anything else.”
In a similar case in June, a trial was held for Justin Ross Harris, who had left his 22-month-old son in the car for more than seven hours in Georgia. The state's prosecutors had said in late September that they would not seek a death penalty for Harris.
According to KidsAndCars, a non-profit organization, about 30 children had died due to heat strokes by November this year while 717 kids have died from it between 1990 and 2013.