HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island father was under arrest on homicide charges Wednesday night, after his 7-month-old son died in a car that had been parked under the hot sun for half an hour.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, it was too late by the time Devon Fenner, 25, realized his mistake.
Fenner held his head low as officers led him out of Nassau County Police Headquarters Wednesday. Police said on Tuesday afternoon, Fenner forgot that his infant son, Dominick, was in the back seat of his car outside their Hempstead home.
Neighbors watched in horror after the young father realized his tragic mistake.
“He was also yelling, ‘Oh Lord! Please help me! Help me!’” said neighbor Augustine Ojo.
“I think it was the grandma — she was crying, and I noticed the police had the baby in his arm and he was, you know, trying to revive the baby,” said witness Collet Prentice.
Fenner told police he had just dropped his girlfriend off at work and returned home. With temperatures near 90 degrees, police said Fenner left the baby boy strapped in his car seat in his 2003 Toyota for more than 30 minutes.
Fenner said he found the boy unresponsive. He called 911, but emergency responders could not save the child.
The child died at Mercy Hospital Center about 40 minutes later, police said.
“On 90-degree day, in 10 minutes, a car can reach 109 degrees,” said Nassau County police Inspector Kenneth Lack. “In 20 minutes, 119 degrees; in 30 minutes, 124 degrees.”
A court document estimated the temperature inside the car at 119 degrees, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“Body temperature over 105 for an extended period of time for a child, can die very quickly,” Lack said.
Fenner covered his head as he left court. He was arraigned on a charge of criminally negligent homicide and bail was set in the amount of $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash. He is due back in court Aug. 28.
Investigators Wednesday were trying determine whether Fenner was under the influence of marijuana when he forgot the child. Police said he was in possession of the drug when he was arrested Tuesday.
For many parents, the idea of forgetting their child is unfathomable — especially parents who know the baby’s family.
“They’re good people,” said neighbor Aleisha Darrell. “It’s never something wrong going around here, so it’s really sad. It got the entire block in a downfall.”
She continued: “It’s unconscionable to really think about it that, you know, that something like this happened. And it’s really a tragedy that it did.“
Fenner has two other children, ages 7 and 8. He has five other prior arrests, including for illegally possessing weapons, police said.
He faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the latest charges.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- Artist Sends Pigeons Soaring Over East River, Fitted With LED Lights
- Seen At 11: Mothers Turning To Controversial Practice Of Giving Chiropractic Care For Newborns
- CBS2 Exclusive: Staten Island Couple Recalls Encounter With Alleged Burglar In Search Of Food
- Police Question Nephew In Disappearance Of Retired Nurse From The Bronx
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)